Prevalence of kidney disease of unknown etiology in agricultural workers, Guatemala

Arroyo et al.

Objectives

To determine the prevalence of kidney disease of unknown etiology in banana, melon, and tomato workers in north-eastern Guatemala, and to evaluate the usefulness of a cystatin C blood test for early detection of renal disease.

Methods

This was a cross-sectional, farm-based study of 462 agricultural workers conducted from June to September 2021. Epidemiological and demographic characteristics of the workers were collected through a self-administered questionnaire. Blood samples were obtained to determine glucose, creatinine and cystatin C levels. Anthropometric and clinical data were also recorded.

Results

The prevalence of kidney disease of unknown etiology was 3.03% (95% confidence interval (CI):1.36–4.70%) based on glomerular filtration rate (GFR-EPI) < 60 mL/min/1.73 m2, with a significantly higher prevalence in banana workers (5.67%; 95% CI: 2.16–9.18%) than melon workers (p = 0.009) and tomato workers (p = 0.044). Ten workers (2.16%) had reduced kidney function (GFR-EPI 60–90 mL/min/1.73 m2). The levels of cystatin C showed less variability (coefficient of variation 46.4%) than those of creatinine (coefficient of variation 67.0%), and cystatin C levels in cases with abnormal and reduced kidney function were significantly different from cases with normal kidney function (p < 0.001).

Conclusions

Surveillance of the health of active farm workers and improvement of working conditions, such as sun protection, adequate hydration, and sufficient breaks, are recommended. The significant differences in cystatin C levels between cases with abnormal and reduced kidney function and those with normal kidney
function suggest that cystatin C could be a useful measure for early detection of renal disease.

Idioma del artículo
English
Original research