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Editorials |

Husker Days and Fever Nights : Counting Cases of Organic Dust Toxic Syndrome

Paul D. Blanc, MD, MSPH, FCCP
Author and Funding Information

Affiliations: San Francisco, CA 
 ,  Dr. Blanc is Associate Professor of Medicine at the Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University of California San Francisco.

Correspondence to: Paul D. Blanc, MD, MSPH, FCCP, Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Box 0924, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143-0924; e-mail: blancp@itsa.ucsf.edu



Chest. 1999;116(5):1157-1158. doi:10.1378/chest.116.5.1157
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In 1994, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) issued an “alert” calling for assistance in preventing organic dust toxic syndrome (ODTS).1 At that time, NIOSH estimated that up to 30 to 40% of all heavily exposed United States workers, predominantly in the agricultural sector, might experience ODTS following organic dust inhalation. The NIOSH became concerned, not because ODTS was a new condition arising out of a novel exposure, but because of a growing awareness that this was probably a long-standing but poorly recognized problem. ODTS, a flu-like illness marked by fever, myalgia, and mild cough, is distinct from hypersensitivity pneumonitis (allergic alveolitis) and, importantly, far more common.


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