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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2006 Sep;118(3):682-90. Epub 2006 Jul 27.

Distribution and determinants of house dust mite allergens in Europe: the European Community Respiratory Health Survey II.

Author information

1
Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology, Municipal Institute of Medical Research, Barcelona, Spain. jpzock@imim.es

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Several studies in European homes have described allergen levels from the house dust mite species Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus and to a lesser extent Dermatophagoides farinae, but geographic comparisons of exposure levels and risk factors have been hampered by a lack of standardized methods.

OBJECTIVE:

To study the distribution and determinants of the major house dust mite allergens Der p 1 and Der f 1 in 10 European countries using a common protocol.

METHODS:

During home visits with 3580 participants of the European Community Respiratory Health Survey II from 22 study centers, mattress dust was sampled and analyzed for Der p 1, Der f 1, and Der 2 allergen. Information on housing characteristics was obtained by both observations and interview.

RESULTS:

Der 1 and Der 2 allergens were detectable (>/=0.1 mug/g) in 68% and 53% of the samples, respectively. Large differences in allergen levels between study centers were observed, and geographic patterns for Der p 1 and Der f 1 were different. Low winter temperatures reduced Der p 1 rather than Der f 1. Important risk factors for high allergen levels included an older mattress, a lower floor level of the bedroom, limited ventilation of the bedroom, and dampness for Der p 1 but not for Der f 1.

CONCLUSION:

There are large qualitative and quantitative differences of house dust mite allergen levels in Europe, which can partly be explained by geographic and housing characteristics.

CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS:

Mite allergen exposure may be reduced by replacing the mattress regularly and increasing ventilation of the bedroom, particularly in winter.

PMID:
16950288
DOI:
10.1016/j.jaci.2006.04.060
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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