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Allergy. 2000 May;55(5):501-4.

Sensitivity to fungal allergens is a risk factor for life-threatening asthma.

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Department of Medicine, University of Auckland, New Zealand.



Previous studies have suggested that sensitivity to Alternaria and Cladosporium may be risk factors for life-threatening asthma. We have investigated this by studying the relationship between skin tests for fungal spores and admission to an intensive care unit (ICU) for asthma.


Skin prick tests for fungal spores (Alternaria tenuis, Cladosporium cladosporoides, Helminthosporium maydis, and Epicoccum nigrum), cat dander, house-dust mite (Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus), and a seven-grass mix were performed in three groups of patients: patients admitted to an ICU with an attack of asthma; those who had received emergency treatment for asthma but had not been admitted to an ICU, and those who had never required emergency treatment for their asthma.


Twenty of 37 patients (54%) admitted to the ICU had a positive skin test for one or more fungal allergens compared with 15/50 patients (30%) in each of the other groups (P=0.005). The ICU patients were no more likely to have positive skin tests for the grass mix, cat dander, or house-dust mite than the other patients.


A positive skin test for fungal allergens is a risk factor for admission to an ICU with an acute attack of asthma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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