, Volume 84, Issue 6, pp 782-792
Date: 05 Oct 2007

Prevalence of Indoor Allergen Exposures among New Orleans Children with Asthma

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Studies of inner-city asthmatic children have shown significant regional variation in dust allergen exposures. The home environment of asthmatic children in the Gulf South region of the USA has not been characterized. This study describes indoor dust allergen levels in the homes of 86 asthmatic children in New Orleans and explores regional variability in dust allergen exposure. Data were used from baseline home visits of children in the New Orleans Healthy Homes Initiative. Interview, visual observation, and environmental dust sampling data of 86 children between 4 and 17 years of age were analyzed. Seventy-seven percent of households had moderate (>2.0–9.9 μg/g) or high (≥10.0 μg/g) levels of either Der p 1 or Der f 1 dust mite allergen and 56.6% had moderate (>2.0–8.0 U/g) or high (>8.0 U/g) levels of cockroach allergen (Bla g 1). The prevalence of high (>10 μg/g) levels of dog (Can f 1) allergen was 26.5%, and few households (6.0%) had high cat allergen (Fel d 1) levels (>8.0 μg/g). Households with average humidity levels >50% were three times more likely to have elevated dust mite levels (odds ratio=3.2; 95% confidence interval=1.1, 9.3; p=0.03). Home ownership and education level were inversely associated with cockroach and dust mite allergen levels, respectively. Our findings reinforce the evidence of regional variability in dust allergen exposure levels. Asthmatic children living in the Gulf South are exposed to multiple indoor allergen exposures and live in a highly allergenic environment.

Rabito, Iqbal, Holt, and Islam are with the Department of Epidemiology, Tulane University School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA, USA; Grimsley is with the Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Tulane University School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA, USA; Scott is with the Division of Epidemiology, College of Public Health, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.