384 The risk business of being an entomologist: a systematic review

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Adverse work-related health outcomes are a significant problem worldwide. Entomologists, including arthropod breeders, are a unique occupational group exposed to potentially harmful arthropods, pesticides, and other more generic hazards. These exposures may place entomologists at risk of a range of adverse work-related health outcomes.1


We sought to determine which adverse work-related health outcomes entomologists have experienced, the incidence and prevalence of these outcomes, and what occupational management strategies have been employed by entomologists, and their effectiveness.


A systematic search of eight databases was undertaken to identify studies informing the review objectives. Data pertaining to country, year, design, work-exposure, adverse work-related health outcomes, incidence or prevalence of these outcomes, and occupational management strategies were extracted, and reported descriptively.


Results showed entomologists experienced work-related allergies, venom reactions, infections, infestations and delusional parasitosis. These related to exposure to insects, arachnids, chilopods and entognathans, and non-arthropod exposures, e.g. arthropod feed. Few studies reported the incidence or prevalence of such conditions, or work-related management strategies utilised by entomologists. There were no studies that specifically investigated the effectiveness of potential management strategies for entomologists as a population. Critical appraisal indicated poor research quality in this area.


Entomologists are a diverse, unique occupational group, at risk of a range of adverse work-related health outcomes. This study represents the first systematic review of their work-related health risks. Future studies investigating the prevalence of adverse work-related health outcomes for entomologists, and the effectiveness of management strategies are warranted to decrease the disease burden of this otherwise understudied group.

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