Journal of Urban Health

, Volume 77, Issue 1, pp 68–85 | Cite as

Evaluation ofStachybotrys chartarum in the house of an infant with pulmonary hemorrhage: Quantitative assessment before, during, and after remediation

  • Stephen VesperEmail author
  • Dorr G. Dearborn
  • Iwona Yike
  • Terry Allan
  • John Sobolewski
  • Simon F. Hinkley
  • Bruce B. Jarvis
  • Richard A. Haugland
Special Feature: Urban Home Environment and Health Original Articles: Housing and Health


Stachybotrys chartarum is an indoor mold that has been associated with pulmonary hemorrhage cases in the Cleveland, Ohio, area. This study applied two new quantitative measurements to air samples from a home in which an infant developed PH. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction and a protein synthesis inhibition assay were used to determine the level ofS. chartarum spores and their toxicity in air samples taken before, during, and after a remediation program was implemented to remove the fungus. Initial spore concentrations were between 0.1 and 9.3 spores/m3 of air, and the toxicity of air particulates was correspondingly low. However, the dust in the house contained between 0.4 and 2.1×103 spores/mg (as determined by hemocytometer counts). The remediation program removed all contaminated wallboard, paneling, and carpeting in the water-damaged areas of the home. In addition, a sodium hypochlorite solution was used to spray all surfaces during remediation. Although spore counts and toxicity were high during remediation, air samples taken postremediation showed no detectable levels ofS. chartarum or related toxicity. Nine isolates ofS. chartarum obtained from the home were analyzed for spore toxicity, hemolytic activity, and random amplified polymorphic DNA banding patterns. None of the isolates produced highly toxic spores (>90 μg T2 toxin equivalents per gram wet weight spores) after growth for 10 and 30 days on wet wallboard, but three isolates were hemolytic consistently. DNA banding patterns suggested that at least one of these isolates was related to isolates from homes of infants with previously investigated cases.

Key Words

Mold Pulmonary Hemorrhage Remediation Stachybotrys 


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Copyright information

© The New York Academy of Medicine 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen Vesper
    • 1
    Email author
  • Dorr G. Dearborn
    • 2
  • Iwona Yike
    • 2
  • Terry Allan
    • 3
  • John Sobolewski
    • 3
  • Simon F. Hinkley
    • 4
  • Bruce B. Jarvis
    • 4
  • Richard A. Haugland
    • 1
  1. 1.National Exposure Research LaboratoryUS Environmental Protection AgencyCincinnati
  2. 2.Department of PediatricsRainbow Babies and Children Hospital, Case Western Reserve UniversityUSA
  3. 3.Cuyahoga County Board of HealthCleveland
  4. 4.Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (JIFSAN)University of MarylandUSA

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