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Allergy. 2010 Feb;65(2):245-55. doi: 10.1111/j.1398-9995.2009.02157.x. Epub 2009 Oct 1.

Symptoms after mould exposure including Stachybotrys chartarum, and comparison with darkroom disease.

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University of Toronto, Department of Medicine, ON, Canada.



Mould-attributed symptoms have included features which overlap with unexplained syndromes such as sick building syndrome.


We describe questionnaire and chart review findings in patients following exposure to moulds which include Stachybotrys and compare responses with two control groups.


Thirty-two patients presented with symptoms attributed to mould exposures. Exposure identification for 25 patients had reported S tachybotrys chartarum as well as other mould (Aspergillus, Penicillium), 88% at work. The remaining seven had professionally visualized or self-reported/photographic exposure evidence only. A chart review was performed and a follow-up with a questionnaire, including questions on current health status, and nonspecific symptoms.


Cough, shortness of breath and chest tightness (at presentation) were reported in 79%, 70% and 64%, respectively, and persisted >6 weeks in 91%. Skin test(s) were positive to fungal extract(s) in 30%. Seventeen returned questionnaires were obtained 3.1 (SD 0.5) years after the initial clinic assessment. Among this subgroup, persisting asthma-like symptoms and symptoms suggestive of sick building syndrome were frequent, and similar to a group previously assessed for darkroom disease among medical radiation technologists. The mould-exposed group more commonly reported they were bothered when walking in a room with carpets, complained of a chemical or metallic taste in their mouth, and had problems in concentration when compared with a control physiotherapist group (P < 0.005).


Although only a minority with health concerns from indoor mould exposure had demonstrable mould-allergy, a significant proportion had asthma-like symptoms. Other symptoms were also common and persistent after the initial implicated exposure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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