Why Are Occupational Diseases Difficult to Recognize?

Figure 3. Many occupational diseases are hidden below the surface.

Prevention is dependent upon recognition. The number of occupational diseases reported is like the tip of an iceberg. Many occupational diseases are not recognized as such. A patient with occupational asthma has the same symptoms as any other patient with asthma. For asbestosis, there is a latency of at least ten years between exposure and disease. Medical students receive little training in the field of industrial toxicology. Finally, a large knowledge base is required to understand and diagnose work-related illnesses caused by chemicals and biological agents. [Rosenstock, p. 3-6]

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Revised: April 26, 2015

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