225 Suberosis – A Cork Workers Disease

Rios S, Martins M, Redondo M, Ferreira A, Ferreira A, Rodrigues F, Vaz Macedo M, Lima Ribeiro J
Introduction: Suberosis is an interstitial lung disease, a hypersensitivity pneumonitis due to cork dust inhalation and is also classified as Extrinsic Allergic Alveolitis. It is an occupational lung disorder of cork workers, associated with repeated exposure to mouldy cork dust, in Cork Industry. In our area, this is the most prevalent occupational disease, probably the most frequent in Portugal, because it is one of the most important Portuguese export industry.
Case description: Male, 46 years-old, Portuguese, cork worker, nuclear family, Graffar IV, Duvall familiar cycle - phase V. Smoker (20 UMA). He went to his Family Doctor presenting productive cough and malaise during workdays, with some improvement on weekends. He presented chills and bilateral sibilance. The chest X-ray requested was normal but the thoracic CT showed a pattern of interstitial lung disorder, with multiples parenchymal small and diffuse cysts, mostly on the upper lobes. He was referred to the Pneumology Unit. There, it was requested a bronchoalveolar lavage that showed an increase of polymorphonuclear leukocytes; the study of pulmonary function revealed impaired diffusion capacity and decreased compliance. Suberosis was diagnosed in 2001. Since then, the patient has stopped smoking and was changed from his workstation to the office of the same factory.
Discussion/Conclusion: Suberosis is an occupational lung disease of cork workers, especially prevalent in Portugal, due to the developed Cork Industry in this country. However, the airway involvement that is present in some cases, makes the diagnostic approach complex, being difficult to distinguish from other interstitial lung diseases and occupational asthma.
Suberosis – a cork workers disease