Chronic fatigue and organophosphate pesticides in sheep farming: a retrospective study amongst people reporting to a UK pharmacovigilance scheme

Nachaat Tahmaz, Alastair James Soutar, John Cherrie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Department of Health has recently published a report from the CFS/ME Working Group which concluded that chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) should be recognized as a chronic illness. Symptoms consistent with CFS are often reported by people who consider their health has been affected by exposure to pesticides, but the Working Group concluded that this type of exposure is not a common trigger for the syndrome. The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) collects self-assessed reports of ill health in humans associated with veterinary medicines under their Suspected Adverse Reaction Surveillance Scheme. The reporters have mainly been sheep farmers. These reports were used to investigate the possible relationship between chronic fatigue (CF) and exposure to organophosphate pesticides in sheep farming. The overall aim of the study was to investigate a possible association between exposure to organophosphates and the development of CF amongst people who consider their health has been affected by pesticides in sheep farming. The hypothesis investigated was that repeated exposure to organophosphate pesticides in sheep dip may increase the probability of developing CF. A group of mostly sheep farmers who had reported to the VMD surveillance scheme were identified. We planned to use a retrospective case-control study design but the initial symptoms reports were not sufficiently reliable to enable this. The study population was asked to complete two questionnaires. The first questionnaire was designed to identify the history of exposure of subjects to organophosphate pesticides, and their exposure was then reconstructed using a metric specifically developed for this purpose. The second questionnaire collected detailed information to identify whether the subjects had CF when they originally reported to the VMD and at the time of the survey. The questionnaire was sent to a total of 206 subjects, of whom 28 had moved home. A total of 37% of the remaining 178 subjects participated. There was a high prevalence of CF amongst those who completed the questionnaire and this has generally persisted since the subjects reported to the VMD. Higher CF scores were associated with higher exposure to organophosphate pesticides. CF is very common amongst those who consider their health was affected by pesticides and we have shown there is limited evidence of an association between exposure to organophosphates and CF. Further research is needed to investigate the cause of this syndrome amongst farmers exposed to pesticides.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-267
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Occupational Hygiene
Volume47
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2003

Keywords

  • chronic fatigue syndrome
  • dermal exposure
  • organophosphate pesticides
  • sheep farming
  • EXPOSURE
  • FARMERS
  • DIP

Cite this

Chronic fatigue and organophosphate pesticides in sheep farming: a retrospective study amongst people reporting to a UK pharmacovigilance scheme. / Tahmaz, Nachaat; Soutar, Alastair James; Cherrie, John.

In: Annals of Occupational Hygiene, Vol. 47, No. 4, 2003, p. 261-267.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{4ab7d62063eb45589e9f3dddef9cd35a,
title = "Chronic fatigue and organophosphate pesticides in sheep farming: a retrospective study amongst people reporting to a UK pharmacovigilance scheme",
abstract = "The Department of Health has recently published a report from the CFS/ME Working Group which concluded that chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) should be recognized as a chronic illness. Symptoms consistent with CFS are often reported by people who consider their health has been affected by exposure to pesticides, but the Working Group concluded that this type of exposure is not a common trigger for the syndrome. The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) collects self-assessed reports of ill health in humans associated with veterinary medicines under their Suspected Adverse Reaction Surveillance Scheme. The reporters have mainly been sheep farmers. These reports were used to investigate the possible relationship between chronic fatigue (CF) and exposure to organophosphate pesticides in sheep farming. The overall aim of the study was to investigate a possible association between exposure to organophosphates and the development of CF amongst people who consider their health has been affected by pesticides in sheep farming. The hypothesis investigated was that repeated exposure to organophosphate pesticides in sheep dip may increase the probability of developing CF. A group of mostly sheep farmers who had reported to the VMD surveillance scheme were identified. We planned to use a retrospective case-control study design but the initial symptoms reports were not sufficiently reliable to enable this. The study population was asked to complete two questionnaires. The first questionnaire was designed to identify the history of exposure of subjects to organophosphate pesticides, and their exposure was then reconstructed using a metric specifically developed for this purpose. The second questionnaire collected detailed information to identify whether the subjects had CF when they originally reported to the VMD and at the time of the survey. The questionnaire was sent to a total of 206 subjects, of whom 28 had moved home. A total of 37{\%} of the remaining 178 subjects participated. There was a high prevalence of CF amongst those who completed the questionnaire and this has generally persisted since the subjects reported to the VMD. Higher CF scores were associated with higher exposure to organophosphate pesticides. CF is very common amongst those who consider their health was affected by pesticides and we have shown there is limited evidence of an association between exposure to organophosphates and CF. Further research is needed to investigate the cause of this syndrome amongst farmers exposed to pesticides.",
keywords = "chronic fatigue syndrome, dermal exposure, organophosphate pesticides, sheep farming, EXPOSURE, FARMERS, DIP",
author = "Nachaat Tahmaz and Soutar, {Alastair James} and John Cherrie",
year = "2003",
doi = "10.1093/annhyg/meg042",
language = "English",
volume = "47",
pages = "261--267",
journal = "Annals of Occupational Hygiene",
issn = "0003-4878",
publisher = "Oxford University Press",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Chronic fatigue and organophosphate pesticides in sheep farming: a retrospective study amongst people reporting to a UK pharmacovigilance scheme

AU - Tahmaz, Nachaat

AU - Soutar, Alastair James

AU - Cherrie, John

PY - 2003

Y1 - 2003

N2 - The Department of Health has recently published a report from the CFS/ME Working Group which concluded that chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) should be recognized as a chronic illness. Symptoms consistent with CFS are often reported by people who consider their health has been affected by exposure to pesticides, but the Working Group concluded that this type of exposure is not a common trigger for the syndrome. The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) collects self-assessed reports of ill health in humans associated with veterinary medicines under their Suspected Adverse Reaction Surveillance Scheme. The reporters have mainly been sheep farmers. These reports were used to investigate the possible relationship between chronic fatigue (CF) and exposure to organophosphate pesticides in sheep farming. The overall aim of the study was to investigate a possible association between exposure to organophosphates and the development of CF amongst people who consider their health has been affected by pesticides in sheep farming. The hypothesis investigated was that repeated exposure to organophosphate pesticides in sheep dip may increase the probability of developing CF. A group of mostly sheep farmers who had reported to the VMD surveillance scheme were identified. We planned to use a retrospective case-control study design but the initial symptoms reports were not sufficiently reliable to enable this. The study population was asked to complete two questionnaires. The first questionnaire was designed to identify the history of exposure of subjects to organophosphate pesticides, and their exposure was then reconstructed using a metric specifically developed for this purpose. The second questionnaire collected detailed information to identify whether the subjects had CF when they originally reported to the VMD and at the time of the survey. The questionnaire was sent to a total of 206 subjects, of whom 28 had moved home. A total of 37% of the remaining 178 subjects participated. There was a high prevalence of CF amongst those who completed the questionnaire and this has generally persisted since the subjects reported to the VMD. Higher CF scores were associated with higher exposure to organophosphate pesticides. CF is very common amongst those who consider their health was affected by pesticides and we have shown there is limited evidence of an association between exposure to organophosphates and CF. Further research is needed to investigate the cause of this syndrome amongst farmers exposed to pesticides.

AB - The Department of Health has recently published a report from the CFS/ME Working Group which concluded that chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) should be recognized as a chronic illness. Symptoms consistent with CFS are often reported by people who consider their health has been affected by exposure to pesticides, but the Working Group concluded that this type of exposure is not a common trigger for the syndrome. The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) collects self-assessed reports of ill health in humans associated with veterinary medicines under their Suspected Adverse Reaction Surveillance Scheme. The reporters have mainly been sheep farmers. These reports were used to investigate the possible relationship between chronic fatigue (CF) and exposure to organophosphate pesticides in sheep farming. The overall aim of the study was to investigate a possible association between exposure to organophosphates and the development of CF amongst people who consider their health has been affected by pesticides in sheep farming. The hypothesis investigated was that repeated exposure to organophosphate pesticides in sheep dip may increase the probability of developing CF. A group of mostly sheep farmers who had reported to the VMD surveillance scheme were identified. We planned to use a retrospective case-control study design but the initial symptoms reports were not sufficiently reliable to enable this. The study population was asked to complete two questionnaires. The first questionnaire was designed to identify the history of exposure of subjects to organophosphate pesticides, and their exposure was then reconstructed using a metric specifically developed for this purpose. The second questionnaire collected detailed information to identify whether the subjects had CF when they originally reported to the VMD and at the time of the survey. The questionnaire was sent to a total of 206 subjects, of whom 28 had moved home. A total of 37% of the remaining 178 subjects participated. There was a high prevalence of CF amongst those who completed the questionnaire and this has generally persisted since the subjects reported to the VMD. Higher CF scores were associated with higher exposure to organophosphate pesticides. CF is very common amongst those who consider their health was affected by pesticides and we have shown there is limited evidence of an association between exposure to organophosphates and CF. Further research is needed to investigate the cause of this syndrome amongst farmers exposed to pesticides.

KW - chronic fatigue syndrome

KW - dermal exposure

KW - organophosphate pesticides

KW - sheep farming

KW - EXPOSURE

KW - FARMERS

KW - DIP

U2 - 10.1093/annhyg/meg042

DO - 10.1093/annhyg/meg042

M3 - Article

VL - 47

SP - 261

EP - 267

JO - Annals of Occupational Hygiene

JF - Annals of Occupational Hygiene

SN - 0003-4878

IS - 4

ER -