Dermatitis reported in medical examinations of US commercial pilots

Leggat, Peter A., Peterman, Connie, and Veronneau, Stephen J.H. (2005) Dermatitis reported in medical examinations of US commercial pilots. Journal of the Australasian Society of Aerospace Medicine, 2 (1). pp. 18-20.

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Background: although dermatitis is a common occupational disease, little is known about dermatitis amongst commercial airline pilots. As dermatitis may disqualify pilots from operating aircraft, this study investigated the prevalence of dermatitis reported in medical examinations of commercial airline pilots.

Methods: the central Federal Aviation Administration medical examinations database of U.S. commercial airline pilots was examined for the calendar year 2002. Data were extracted for those pilots whose medical examinations reported dermatitis, skin allergies or contact dermatitis.

Results: there were 373,454 medical examinations of which 85 (0.023%) reported dermatitis. Most pilots (77/85. 90.4%) were male. The mean age of the pilots was 46.0 years (standard deviation = 12.4). Only three pilots with dermatitis (3.5%) were refused a medical clearance initially, but for unrelated conditions. About one quarter of the affected pilots (22/85,25.9%) reported a history of allergy. Pilots with dermatitis and allergies were more likely to report asthma (Chi square = 11.1, df = 1. P = 0.003). Pilots with dermatitis and a history of allergy or asthma had flown significantly fewer hours in the past .12 months (student t-test; t = 2.0, p = 0.05; t= 2.2, p = 0.03; respectively). There were no reports of pilots receiving systemic treatment for dermatitis.

Conclusions: Dermatitis is uncommonly reported in medical examinations of US commercial pilots, but the true prevalence may be underestimated. Dermatitis did not affect issuance or reissuance of pilots'licences. Pilots with dermatitis should be examined for related allergic and asthmatic conditions.

Item ID: 6703
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1449-3764
Keywords: airline; aviation; dermatitis; epidemiology; medical examinations; pilots
Date Deposited: 14 Feb 2010 22:31
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111705 Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety @ 50%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111706 Epidemiology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920504 Occupational Health @ 51%
92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920404 Disease Distribution and Transmission (incl. Surveillance and Response) @ 49%
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