Journal of Urban Health

, Volume 84, Issue 6, pp 782–792 | Cite as

Prevalence of Indoor Allergen Exposures among New Orleans Children with Asthma

  • Felicia A. Rabito
  • Shahed Iqbal
  • Elizabeth Holt
  • L. Faye Grimsley
  • Tareq M. S. Islam
  • Susanne K. Scott


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.


Child health Asthma Allergens Environmental health Dog allergen House dust 



The New Orleans Healthy Homes Initiative


Inner City Asthma Study


Dermatology, Allergy and Clinical Immunology Reference Laboratory


Confidence Interval


Institute of Medicine



This study was funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control Healthy Homes program grant # LALHH0121-03.

We thank Dr. Peter Ashley and Kyla Leon, MPH, for their assistance in preparing this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© The New York Academy of Medicine 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Felicia A. Rabito
    • 1
  • Shahed Iqbal
    • 1
  • Elizabeth Holt
    • 1
  • L. Faye Grimsley
    • 2
  • Tareq M. S. Islam
    • 1
  • Susanne K. Scott
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of EpidemiologyTulane University School of Public Health & Tropical MedicineNew OrleansUSA
  2. 2.Department of Environmental Health SciencesTulane University School of Public Health & Tropical MedicineNew OrleansUSA
  3. 3.Division of Epidemiology, College of Public HealthOhio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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