The frequency of asymptomatic atopy and relationship to latent tuberculosis in health workers

İnsu Yılmaz
Şule Akçay
Özlem Türkkan
Bülent Bozkurt


Objective: In recent decades, the prevalence of atopic diseases has risen. Genetic factors and environmental factors are accused for this increase. The studies examining risk factors for asymptomatic atopy are limited, although many studies have investigated environmental risk factors in atopic diseases. The aim of study, to determine the prevalence of atopic sensitization among asymptomatic health workers and to examine the effects of active smoking and latent tuberculosis for atopic sensitization.

Materials and Methods: Healthy participants with no described positive history of atopy and history of familial atopy were selected. Sixty participant aged 22-37 years were tested using tuberculin skin test (TST) and the skin prick tests (SPT) with 13 allergen extracts were performed. TST was accepted as latent tuberculosis if it was 15 mm or over.

Results: At least one SPT response was found in (26.7%) 16 of 60 subjects. The most common sensitization was to Dermatophagoides pteronyssinuss. SPT results were compared and it was found that 5 (16.7%) people had positive SPT in smoker groups and 11 (36.7%) people in non-smoker groups (p> 0.05). TST was found over 10 mm in all subjects. TST was found over 15 mm in 65% of the subjects.No case had active or history of tuberculosis. In atopic and non-atopic groups, rates of TST positivity were 43.7% and 72.7% respectively (p= 0.03).

Conclusion: Atopy was found in a quarter of healthy workers who no described positive history of atopy and history of familial atopy. It was thought that there was an inverse association between atopy and latent tuberculosis and that latent tuberculosis reduced development of atopy. We found no relationship between active smoking and atopy.


Atopy, asymptomatic atopy, tuberculin skin test, latent tuberculosis, smoking
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