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Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2005 Jan;94(1):39-44.

Characterization of a population presenting with suspected mold-related health effects.

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1
Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Immunology/Allergy Section, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Numerous epidemiologic studies have reported a relationship between dampness and increased respiratory symptoms in adults and children, which has led to increasing concerns among the general population about potential mold-related health effects.

OBJECTIVE:

To identify characteristics of patients with possible mold-related health effects that might help allergists better understand how to evaluate such patients in their practices.

METHODS:

The parameters that were evaluated for the total population included age, sex, upper and lower respiratory tract symptoms, systemic symptoms, atopic status, pet ownership, smoking history, mold sensitization, mold exposure, and exposure location. Subgroups stratified by atopic status, mold sensitization, and indoor mold exposure confirmed by an environmental mold report prepared by certified industrial hygienists were also analyzed. Significant associations were determined by correlation coefficients and logistic regression analysis.

RESULTS:

A total of 135 patients with possible mold-related health effects secondary to prolonged indoor mold exposure were evaluated. For the overall population, a strong correlation was found among atopy, mold sensitization, and sensitization to specific molds identified in the patient's environmental report. Mold intracutaneous testing was not useful for discriminating between atopic and nonatopic individuals. There were no associations among the patients' presenting symptoms, atopic status, and magnitude of mold exposure. Similar findings were identified when subgroup analysis was performed.

CONCLUSIONS:

Patients who present with mold-related health effects manifest heterogeneous characteristics. Medical history, skin testing, and current indoor mold sampling practices have significant limitations in establishing a causal link among mold exposure health effects.

Comment in

PMID:
15702814
DOI:
10.1016/S1081-1206(10)61283-5
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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