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Allergy. 2001 Feb;56(2):175-9.

Increased prevalence of atopy among children exposed to mold in a school building.

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Espoo Health Centre, Finland.



The purpose of this study was to assess the occurrence of immunoglobulin E sensitization to common environmental allergens (atopy) and new allergic diseases among schoolchildren after starting school in a water-damaged school building. The staff and pupils of a Finnish elementary school with visible water damage and mold complained of respiratory and skin symptoms. The school building was examined and widespread moisture damage was found. A control school with no visible water damage was also examined. No indication of exceptional microbial growth was found in the samples taken from this school.


History of allergic diseases and the year of diagnosis were established by a questionnaire. IgE antibodies to the common environmental allergens were determined from randomly selcted groups from both schools.


Elevated IgE values were significantly more common among the exposed children, as was the occurrence of new allergic diseases after the children started at the school.


The odds ratios for the IgE values of the study groups indicated a possible relationship between exposure to microorganisms and IgE sensitization. Exposure to spores, toxins, and other metabolites of molds may have complex results with unknown immunogenic effects that may act as a nonspecific trigger for allergic sensitization leading to the development of atopy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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