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Clin Exp Allergy. 2013 Jul;43(7):762-74. doi: 10.1111/cea.12107.

Dampness and moulds in relation to respiratory and allergic symptoms in children: results from Phase Two of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC Phase Two).

Collaborators (151)

Weiland SK, Büchele G, Dentler C, Kleiner A, Rzehak P, Weinmayr G, Priftanji A, Shkurti A, Simenati J, Grabocka E, Shyti K, Agolli S, Gurakuqi A, Stein RT, Urrutia de Pereira M, Jones MH, Pitrez PM, Cooper PJ, Chico M, Chen YZ, Zhong NS, Lai CK, Wong GW, Riikjärv A, Annus T, Annesi-Maesano I, Gotua M, Rukhadze M, Abramidze T, Kvachadze I, Karsanidze L, Kiladze M, Dolidze N, Leupold W, Keil U, von Mutius E, Weiland SK, von Mutius E, Keil U, Weiland SK, Arthur P, Addo-Yobo E, Gratziou C, Priftis K, Papadopoulou A, Katsardis C, Tsanakas J, Hatziagorou E, Kirvassilis F, Clausen M, Shah JR, Mathur RS, Khubchandani RP, Mantri S, Forastiere F, Di Domenicantonio R, De Sario M, Sammarro S, Pistelli R, Serra MG, Corbo G, Perucci CA, Svabe V, Sebre D, Casno G, Novikova I, Bagrade L, Brunekreef B, Schram D, Doekes G, Jansen PH, van Vliet, Janssen NA, Aarts FJ, de Meer G, Crane J, Wickens K, Barry D, Nystad W, Bolle R, Lund E, Batlles Garrido J, Rubi Ruiz T, Bonillo Perales A, Gonzalez Jiménez Y, Aguirre Rodriguez J, Momblan de Cabo J, Losilla Maldonado A, Daza Torres M, García-Marcos L, Martinez Torres A, Guillén Pérez JJ, Piñana López A, Castejon Robles S, García Hernandez G, Martinez Gimeno A, Moro Rodríguez AL, Luna Paredes C, Gonzalez Gil I, Morales Suarez- Varela MM, Llopis González A, Escribano Montaner A, Tallon Guerola M, Bråbäck L, Kjellman M, Nilsson L, Mai XM, Sandin A, Saraçlar Y, Kuyucu S, Tuncer A, Saçkesen C, Sumbulŏglu V, Geyik P, Kocabas C, Strachan DP, Kaur B, El- Sharif N, Nemery B, Barghuthy F, Abu Huij S, Qlebo M, Aït-Khaled N, Anderson HR, Strachan DP, Flohr C, Williams H, Forastiere F, Asher I, Ellwood P, Stewart A, Mitchell E, Crane J, Pearce N, Beasley R, Björkstén B, Brunekreef B, Foliaki S, von Mutius E, Keil U, Weiland SK, Weinmayr G, Lai CK, Wong GW, Mallol J, Montefort S, Odhiambo J, Robertson C, Montefort S, Odhiambo J, Robertson C.

Author information

Institute of Epidemiology, Ulm University, 89081 Ulm, Germany.



Many studies report that damp housing conditions are associated with respiratory symptoms. Less is known about mechanisms and possible effect modifiers. Studies of dampness in relation to allergic sensitization and eczema are scarce.


We study the influence of damp housing conditions world-wide on symptoms and objective outcomes.


Cross-sectional studies of 8-12-year-old children in 20 countries used standardized methodology from Phase Two of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC). Symptoms of asthma, rhinitis and eczema, plus residential exposure to dampness and moulds, were ascertained by parental questionnaires (n = 46 051). Skin examination, skin prick tests (n = 26 967) and hypertonic saline bronchial challenge (n = 5713) were performed. In subsamples stratified by wheeze (n = 1175), dust was sampled and analysed for house dust mite (HDM) allergens and endotoxin.


Current exposure to dampness was more common for wheezy children (pooled odds ratio 1.58, 95% CI 1.40-1.79) and was associated with greater symptom severity among wheezers, irrespective of atopy. A significant (P < 0.01) adverse effect of dampness was also seen for cough and phlegm, rhinitis and reported eczema, but not for examined eczema, nor bronchial hyperresponsiveness. HDM sensitization was more common in damp homes (OR 1.16, 1.03-1.32). HDM-allergen levels were higher in damp homes and were positively associated with HDM-sensitization, but not wheeze.


A consistent association of dampness with respiratory and other symptoms was found in both affluent and non-affluent countries, among both atopic and non-atopic children. HDM exposure and sensitization may contribute, but the link seems to be related principally to non-atopic mechanisms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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