Observational Surveillance Approach to Detect Novel Work-Related Diseases and Hazards: An Application to a Belgian Occupational Health and Safety Database

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Abstract

Objectives:

Rapid changes in working conditions give rise to new occupational health risks. We applied the Spectrosome approach, a network-based analysis, to investigate associations between disease and multiple occupational exposures.

Methods:

We investigated work and health's associations in a specific sector: the agricultural sector and for a specific and frequent health complaint: sore throat; using PRECUBE dataset of the Belgian Occupational Health and Safety, containing 381.615 occupational health observations. We compared the results of the spectrosome with classic frequency analyses.

Results:

Spectrosome approach reports more significant signals of multiple associations of agents compare to the frequency analysis.

Conclusion:

This difference justifies the usefulness of taking into account the multiplicity of causes leading to a health event, which is a clear asset of the Spectrosome method.

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