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Advance In Solving Mysterious Machine-workers' Disease

Date:
June 19, 2009
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Scientists are reporting a long-awaited advance toward making the workplace safer for more than one million machinists in the United States who may be exposed to disease-causing bacteria in contaminated metalworking fluids. Those fluids become airborne during machining of metal parts.

Scientists are reporting an advance toward solving a mysterious machine-workers' disease.
Credit: iStockphoto/Jeffrey Hochstrasser

Scientists in Ohio are reporting a long-awaited advance toward making the workplace safer for more than one million machinists in the United States who may be exposed to disease-causing bacteria in contaminated metalworking fluids. Those fluids become airborne during machining of metal parts.

In the report, Jagjit S. Yadav and colleagues note that a bacterium called Mycobacterium immunogenum (M. immunogenum) was first identified in 2000 as the potential cause of a mysterious disease that had been occurring among machinists. The illness, called hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP), is an inflammation of the lung resulting from the body's immune reaction to bacteria, mold, and other airborne particles.

At HP outbreak sites, M. immunogenum is known to colonize metalworking fluids, used to cool the cutting tools that grind metals. Workers inhale the infected particles as they spray into the air from drills and other cutting tools. HP's symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath and chills.

The scientists describe their first-of-its kind identification of 33 proteins in M. immunogenum that seem to be involved in triggering the immune response likely responsible for HP. Those proteins could serve as the basis for a test to identify workplace contamination with M. immunogenum, and targets for developing medications or vaccines to treat and prevent the condition, the study says.


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The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


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American Chemical Society. "Advance In Solving Mysterious Machine-workers' Disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090525115310.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2009, June 19). Advance In Solving Mysterious Machine-workers' Disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090525115310.htm
American Chemical Society. "Advance In Solving Mysterious Machine-workers' Disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090525115310.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

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