Send to

Choose Destination
J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1997 Jan;99(1 Pt 1):107-12.

Dust and airborne exposure to allergens derived from cockroach (Blattella germanica) in low-cost public housing in Strasbourg (France).

Author information

Unité INSERM U425 Pavillon Laennec, Hôpitaux Universitaires de Strasbourg, France.



Although a strong association between allergy to cockroach (CR) and asthma has been observed in the United States and Asia, there are little data about the extent of exposure to CR allergen in Europe.


To determine the levels of CR allergens in dust samples from apartments in Strasbourg and to determine the concentration and size of CR allergens in the air.


Nine apartments in a public housing complex were chosen on the basis of visual evidence of CR infestation. Levels of CR allergens (Bla g 1 and Bla g 2) in kitchen and mattress dust samples were measured by immunoassay with the use of monoclonal antibodies. Air was sampled for 3 to 8 hours in the kitchen under undisturbed conditions, during artificial disturbance, and during normal domestic activity by using an impinger and a parallel glass fiber filter and at flow rates of 2 to 20 L/min. Airborne CR and mite allergens were measured concurrently in the bedroom of one apartment before, during, and after artificial disturbance.


High levels of Bla g 1 and Bla g 2 were found in kitchen dust from the nine apartments (geometric means of 3919 U/gm [range 530 to 14306 U/gm] and 497 U/gm [range 73 to 1946 U/gm], respectively). Under undisturbed conditions, airborne CR allergens were not detectable in any of the apartments. During vigorous artificial disturbance, Bla g 1 and Bla g 2 were detectable in air samples from seven apartments (geometric means of 4.5 U/m3 [range 0.7 to 17.2 U/m3] and 1.0 U/m3 [range 0.4 to 3.4 U/m3], respectively). Both allergens were predominantly collected on the first stage of the impinger, and 76% to 80% of the airborne allergen was associated with particles greater than 10 microns in diameter. The levels were significantly higher than those collected on the second or third stages of the impinger (p < 0.001). A comparison of the levels of mite and CR allergens showed that the airborne properties of these allergens were similar, that is, measurable only during disturbance and not detectable 30 minutes after disturbance.


Levels of CR allergen in low-cost public housing in Strasbourg can be as high as or higher than the levels measured in towns in the United States. CR allergens become airborne during disturbance and are primarily associated with particles greater than 10 microns in diameter. Patients with asthma living in urban areas of Europe in housing prone to CR infestation should be evaluated for sensitization and exposure to CR allergens.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center