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Clin Exp Allergy. 2005 Apr;35(4):426-33.

Educational intervention to control cockroach allergen exposure in the homes of hispanic children in Los Angeles: results of the La Casa study.

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Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA.



Cockroach allergy is common among inner city children with asthma, and exposure to cockroach allergen is associated with more severe disease. However, there has been little evaluation of educational approaches for controlling cockroach infestations and reducing allergen exposure.


An educational intervention to reduce cockroach allergen exposure in the homes of Hispanic children in Los Angeles was implemented and evaluated.


Caretakers of 150 children with asthma were randomly assigned to an in-home intervention or comparison group. In the intervention group, peer health educators trained the caretaker to control cockroaches by reducing harbourage and access to food and by applying boric acid, and to reduce allergen exposure by cleaning. Allergen impermeable covers were placed on the child's mattress and pillows. Knowledge, reported and observed behaviour, cockroach counts, and cockroach allergen (Bla g 1) in dust samples from the kitchen and the child's bedding were assessed at study entry and at follow-up 4 months later.


There was improvement in knowledge and in observed and reported behaviour hypothesized to be associated with cockroach control. The geometric mean cockroach number in the intervention homes at the follow-up visit was 60% lower than in the non-intervention homes (95% confidence interval (CI) 14%, 81%). Geometric mean total cockroach allergen collected from the child's bedding was 64% lower in the intervention group (95% CI 12%, 85%). In homes with heavier initial cockroach infestation, there was a larger reduction in total kitchen dust allergen and concentration associated with the intervention than in homes with fewer initial cockroaches.


We conclude that reduction in number of cockroaches and in total allergen in bedding dust can be achieved by caretakers of asthmatic children following a single home educational intervention by peer educators.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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