Contemporary Prevalence of Byssinosis in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review

Asaad Ahmed Nafees, Sara De Matteis, Peter Burney, Paul Cullinan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


We aimed to identify the contemporary prevalence of byssinosis through a systematic review. Medline, Web of Science, Embase, and Global Health databases were used to identify studies published in any language between 2000 and 2019, reporting primary data on byssinosis among adults. We used the Joanna Briggs Institute checklist to estimate the risk of bias in studies and undertook a qualitative, narrative data analysis. The review considered the prevalence of byssinosis, chest tightness, and airflow obstruction in textile workers in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). We found 26 relevant studies that included 6930 workers across 12 countries. Most of the studies (n = 19) were from Asia, and seven from African countries. Twenty-five studies were cross-sectional surveys while one was a cohort study. The prevalence of byssinosis was reported by 18 studies, and ranged from 8% to 38%, without any clear associations, at the group level, between the prevalence of byssinosis and durations of workers’ exposures. Prevalence of chest tightness ranged between 4% and 58% and that of airflow obstruction between 10% and 30%. A strong correlation (r = 0.72) was found between prevalence of byssinosis and cotton dust levels. Our findings indicate that byssinosis remains a significant, contemporary problem in some parts of the textile sector in LMICs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)483-492
Number of pages10
JournalAsia-Pacific Journal of Public Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


  • byssinosis
  • cotton fiber
  • developing countries
  • prevalence
  • textile industry


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