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Indoor Air. 2013 Aug;23(4):275-84. doi: 10.1111/ina.12020. Epub 2013 Jan 25.

Isolation of Aspergillus fumigatus from sputum is associated with elevated airborne levels in homes of patients with asthma.

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  • 1Department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, Institute for Lung Health, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK.


Indoor bioaerosols, such as mold spores, have been associated with respiratory symptoms in patients with asthma; however, dose-response relationships and guidelines on acceptable levels are lacking. Furthermore, a causal link between mold exposure and respiratory infections or asthma remains to be established. The aim of this study was to determine indoor concentrations of Aspergillus fumigatus and a subset of clinically relevant fungi in homes of people with asthma, in relation to markers of airways colonization and sensitization. Air and dust samples were collected from the living room of 58 properties. Fungal concentrations were quantified using mold-specific quantitative PCR and compared with traditional microscopic analysis of air samples. Isolation of A. fumigatus from sputum was associated with higher airborne concentrations of the fungus in patient homes (P = 0.04), and a similar trend was shown with Aspergillus/Penicillium-type concentrations analyzed by microscopy (P = 0.058). No association was found between airborne levels of A. fumigatus and sensitization to this fungus, or dustborne levels of A. fumigatus and either isolation from sputum or sensitization. The results of this study suggest that the home environment should be considered as a potential source of fungal exposure, and elevated home levels may predispose people with asthma to airways colonization.

© 2012 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Air; Airways colonization; Dust; Fungal sensitization; Mold-specific quantitative PCR; Residential properties

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