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Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2001 Jul;87(1):60-4.

Cockroach allergen abatement with extermination and sodium hypochlorite cleaning in inner-city homes.

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Department of Pediatrics, School of Hygiene and Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.



Although the importance of cockroach allergen in chronic asthma has now been well defined, little progress has been made in the control of cockroach allergen in infested homes.


The objective of this study was to examine the ability of a combination of professional pest extermination and household cleaning using a solution of sodium hypochlorite to reduce cockroach infestation and allergen levels in cockroach infested homes.


Seventeen cockroach-infested homes were studied with three homes serving as controls. In the intervention homes, a professional exterminator applied 0.05% abamectin twice at 2-week intervals at study entry and a professional cleaner cleaned the homes before and after the extermination. All washable surfaces were cleaned throughout the study with a solution of 0.5% hypochlorite. Monthly home visits were conducted to inspect the home, interview the homeowner, place passive cockroach traps, and to collect settled dust samples from the kitchen, bedroom, and TV/living room.


The number of cockroaches in the passive traps decreased rapidly after the initial intervention in most homes. Median Blatella germanica allergen 1 levels in the settled dust samples fell by 91% in the kitchen, 78% in the bedroom, and 77% in the living room over the course of the study in the intervention homes but gradually rose in the control homes. The overall reductions were very similar to those seen in a previous study with a similar protocol except for the use of the sodium hypochlorite.


Successful extermination is possible in most inner-city homes and cockroach allergen levels can be reduced by 80% to 90%. However, 0.5% sodium hypochlorite did not seem to improve allergen reduction, and in many homes, allergen levels remained above the proposed threshold of 8 U/g of dust throughout the study.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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