Professional photosensitive eczema of fishermen by contact with bryozoans: disabling occupational dermatosis.

Int Marit Health 2008 ;59(1-4):45-52

Occupational Health Department, Caen University Hospital, Caen, France.

Eczema associated with bryozoans is a form of occupational dermatosis caused by a living animal, involving contact eczema, occasionally associated with photosensitivity and concerning fishermen on a quasi-elective basis. This affection can prove to be extremely disabling, frequently generating disastrous social consequences, since the eviction of the responsible allergen is very often synonymous to occupational reclassification, a measure which fishermen, highly attached to their profession, have great difficulty in accepting. Based on the description of three cases of photosensitive eczema associated with contact with the bryozoan, Alcyonidium gelatinosum, identified in fishermen from the English Channel coastline, we describe the characteristics and the specificities of this occupational dermatosis, then approach the issue of its prevention, which, unfortunately, remains limited.

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April 2009
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