Skin Disease among Latino Farmworkers in North Carolina

Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
  • Arcury, Thomas;
  • Quandt, Sara;
  • Feldman, Steven R.;
  • Krejci-Manwaring, Jennifer;
  • Rapp, Stephen R.;
  • Schulz, Mark R.;
  • Vallejos, Quirina M.


An estimated 4.2 million seasonal and migrant farmworkers and their dependents live in the U.S. Most of these farmworkers are Latino. These workers are exposed to numerous occupational and environmental risk factors that can result in skin disease. Few data exist on the prevalence of skin disease in this population. The purpose of this study was to estimate the prevalence and predictors of skin disease in a sample of Latino farmworkers in North Carolina. A sample of 59 farmworkers was recruited and interviewed at two camps during the 2004 agricultural season. A dermatologist completed a skin exam of each worker and recorded any skin disease present. Forty-two (77.7%) of the 54 men, and all five of the women examined had a diagnosed skin disease. For the men, onychomycosis (nail fungus, 31.5%), tinea pedis (foot fungus, 27.8%), and acne (24.1%) were the most commonly diagnosed skin diseases, with contact dermatitis diagnosed in 5.6% of the sample. Other diagnoses included scars, sunburn, and atopic dermatitis. Among the women, diagnoses included melasma (dark patches on the face, 2 cases), xerosis (excessively dry skin, 1 case), tinea pedis (2 cases), onychomycosis (1 case), acne (1 case), and insect bites (1 case). There were no statistically significant differences between workers in the two camps despite different growing seasons and different crops harvested. Skin disease is prevalent among the North Carolina Latino farmworkers who participated in this study, with fungal disease being the most prevalent.

Full article can be found in: Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
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