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Crit Rev Microbiol. 2014 Aug;40(3):248-60. doi: 10.3109/1040841X.2013.777687. Epub 2013 Apr 16.

Indoor fungal contamination: health risks and measurement methods in hospitals, homes and workplaces.

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INSERM, U1085-IRSET , F-35043 Rennes , France .


Indoor fungal contamination has been associated with a wide range of adverse health effects, including infectious diseases, toxic effects and allergies. The diversity of fungi contributes to the complex role that they play in indoor environments and human diseases. Molds have a major impact on public health, and can cause different consequences in hospitals, homes and workplaces. This review presents the methods used to assess fungal contamination in these various environments, and discusses advantages and disadvantages for each method in consideration with different health risks. Air, dust and surface sampling strategies are compared, as well as the limits of various methods are used to detect and quantify fungal particles and fungal compounds. In addition to conventional microscopic and culture approaches, more recent chemical, immunoassay and polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based methods are described. This article also identifies common needs for future multidisciplinary research and development projects in this field, with specific interests on viable fungi and fungal fragment detections. The determination of fungal load and the detection of species in environmental samples greatly depend on the strategy of sampling and analysis. Quantitative PCR was found useful to identify associations between specific fungi and common diseases. The next-generation sequencing methods may afford new perspectives in this area.

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