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Fungal DNA and pet allergen levels in Swedish day care centers and associations with building characteristics
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Sciences, Occupational and Environmental Medicine. (Eva Vingård)
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2011 (English)In: Journal of Environmental Monitoring, ISSN 1464-0325, E-ISSN 1464-0333, Vol. 13, no 7, 2018-2024 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Pet allergens and mold growth related to damp are common phenomena in day care centers in Sweden but exposure measurements of these factors are lacking. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between building construction and indoor environment quality in Swedish day care centers and the potential for exposure to fungi (analyzed by quantitative PCR) and animal allergens (analyzed by ELISA). Measurements were performed in 21 day care centers (103 rooms) from one municipality in Sweden, which were identified as constructions at risk of dampness (85% of the buildings) and with visible damage and mold growth (54% of the buildings). Dust samples were collected using cotton swab and Petri dishes. Total fungal DNA was detected in 99% and 100%, Aspergillus/Penicillium DNA in 54% and 68%, and Stachybotrys chartarum DNA in 4% and 9% of the investigated rooms in cotton swab and Petri dish samples, respectively. The total fungal DNA levels (Geometric Mean, GM) were 4.2 × 106 cell equivalents per m2 and 2.9 × 105 cell equivalents per m2 per day in the swab and Petri dish samples, respectively. The concentrations (GM) of cat (Fel d1), dog (Can f1), and horse (Equ cx) allergens were 9.4, 7.2 ng m−2 day−1, and 5.0 unit per m2 per day, respectively. Total fungal DNA levels were higher in risk construction buildings (p = 0.01), in rooms with linoleum flooring material (p = 0.003), and in buildings with rotating heat exchangers (p = 0.02). There were associations between total fungal DNA levels and cat (p = 0.02), dog (p < 0.001), and horse (p = 0.001) allergens. In conclusion, risk constructions, damp constructions, mould growth, fungal DNA, and animal allergens were common exposure factors in Swedish day care centers. Building constructions that represent a high risk for internal dampness should be avoided in the future, and measures to reduce allergen levels should be considered to protect pet-allergic children from asthmatic problems.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 13, no 7, 2018-2024 p.
National Category
Environmental Health and Occupational Health
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-165162DOI: 10.1039/c0em00553cISI: 000292984100018PubMedID: 21637862OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-165162DiVA: diva2:472226
Available from: 2012-01-03 Created: 2012-01-03 Last updated: 2015-08-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Fungal DNA, Mould, Dampness and Allergens in Schools and Day Care Centers and Respiratory Health
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Fungal DNA, Mould, Dampness and Allergens in Schools and Day Care Centers and Respiratory Health
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Day care centers and schools are important environments for children, but few epidemiological studies exist from these environments. Mould, dampness, fungal DNA and allergens levels in these environments and respiratory health effects in school children were investigated in this thesis. In the day care centers studies, Allergen Avoidance Day care Centers (AADCs) and Ordinary Day care Centers were included. One third of the Swedish day care centers had a history of dampness or mould growth. Total fungal DNA levels were positively associated with risk construction buildings, reported dampness/moulds, rotating heat exchangers, linoleum floors and allergens (cat, dog, horse allergen) levels. The two school studies included secondary schools in Johor Bahru, Malaysia and elementary schools from five European countries (Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and France) (HESE-study). In Malaysia, 13 % of the pupils reported doctor-diagnosed asthma but only 4 % had asthma medication. The prevalence of wheeze in the last 12 months was 10 % in Malaysia and 13 % in the HESE-study. Cough and rhinitis were common among children in the HESE-study. There were associations between fungal DNA and reported dampness or mould growth. Fungal DNA levels and viable mould (VM) concentration in the classrooms were associated with respiratory symptoms (wheeze, rhinitis, cough, daytime breathlessness) in school children. In the HESE-study, associations were found between total fungal DNA, Aspergillus/Penicillium DNA and respiratory symptoms among children. Moreover, Aspergillus versicolor DNA and Streptomyces DNA were associated with respiratory symptoms in Malaysia and the HESE-study, as well as reduced lung function [forced vitality capacity (FVC) and forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1)] among children in the HESE-study. In conclusion, fungal DNA and pet allergens were common in day care centers and schools and respiratory symptoms in school children were common. The associations between VM concentration and fungal DNA levels in the schools and respiratory health effects in school children indicated a need for improvement of these environments. Moreover, risk constructions should be avoided and buildings should be maintained to avoid dampness and microbial growth. Health relevance of microbial exposure and biodiversity needs to be further studied using molecular methods.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2013. 85 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Medicine, ISSN 1651-6206 ; 942
Day care centers, Quantitative PCR, Fungal DNA, Allergens, Indoor environment, Building dampness, Bacteria, Mycotoxins, Respiratory symptoms, Asthma, School environment, Viable moulds, School children
National Category
Clinical Medicine
Research subject
Occupational and Environmental Medicine
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-209597 (URN)978-91-554-8788-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-12-06, Frödingsalen, Ulleråkersvägen 40, Uppsala, 13:00 (English)
Available from: 2013-11-15 Created: 2013-10-22 Last updated: 2014-01-23

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