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Canadian Respiratory Journal
Volume 18, Issue 5, Pages 275-277
Original Article

Feasibility of a Provincial Voluntary Reporting System for Work-Related Asthma in Ontario

Teresa To,1 Susan M Tarlo,2 Susan McLimont,3 Ted Haines,4 D Linn Holness,5 M Diane Lougheed,6 Gary M Liss,7 and Lisa Cicutto8

1The Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto and Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Canada
2Toronto Western Hospital and University of Toronto, Canada
3The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada
4McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada
5St Michael’s Hospital and University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
6Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada
7Ontario Ministry of Labour and University of Toronto, Canada
8University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Copyright © 2011 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


OBJECTIVE The Ontario Work-Related Asthma Surveillance System: Physician Reporting (OWRAS) Network was established in 2007 to estimate the prevalence of work-related asthma (WRA) in Ontario, and to test the feasibility of collecting data for cases of WRA from physicians voluntarily.

METHODS: More than 300 respirologists, occupational medicine physicians, allergists and primary care providers in Ontario were invited to participate in monthly reporting of WRA cases by telephone, postal service or e-mail.

RESULTS: Since 2007, 49 physicians have registered with the OWRAS Network and, to date, have reported 34 cases of occupational asthma and 49 cases of work-exacerbated asthma. Highly reactive chemicals were the most frequently reported suspected causative agent of the 108 suspected exposures reported.

CONCLUSION: Despite the challenge of enlisting a representative sample of physicians in Ontario willing to report, the OWRAS Network has shown that it is feasible to implement a voluntary reporting system for WRA; however, its long-term sustainability is currently unknown.