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  • MARCH 2019 Issue has been successfully launched on 1 March 2019

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Nina Joseph*, Kazia Sunny, Salabha Ann Mathew, Joziya K. J., S. Hemalatha and T. Sivakumar


Silicosis, a type of pneumoconiosis, is an occupational lung disease caused by inhaling large amounts of crystalline silica dust, usually for a long period of time. In India, more than 10 million workers are at risk of silicosis and considered as a major occupational health problem in India. It mainly affects people who are in mining, glass manufacturing, foundry works, Construction work, Tunnel works etc. It is characterized by inflammation and scarring in the form of nodular lesions in the lungs. Silicosis may be complicated with lung diseases including lung cancer and autoimmune diseases. Other pulmonary complications include chronic bronchitis, non-tuberculous mycobacterium infection, fungal infection, emphysema and pneumothorax. The diagnosis of silicosis includes chest x-ray, breathing tests, high resolution CT scan of the chest, bronchoscopy, biopsy of the lungs and additional tests, such as mucus (sputum) evaluation, to assess for associated diseases, such as tuberculosis (TB). Patients with silicosis are more susceptible to pulmonary tuberculosis known as "silicotuberculosis" the reason may be due to silica damages the macrophages causing inhibition of their ability to kill mycobacterium. There is no specific treatment given for silicosis patients. Avoiding further silica exposure is important to prevent the disease from getting worse. Supportive treatment includes cough medicine, bronchodilators, and oxygen if needed. Antibiotics are prescribed for respiratory infections as needed.

Keywords: Silicosis, Occupational Disease, Construction Workers, Silicotuberculosis.

[Full Text Article]

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