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Markers of upper airway inflammation associated with microbial exposure and symptoms in occupants of a water-damaged building

Authors

  • Muge Akpinar-Elci MD, MPH,

    1. Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morgantown, WV
    2. Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine, St. George's University, Grenada, WI
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  • Sandra K. White MS,

    Corresponding author
    • Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morgantown, WV
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  • Paul D. Siegel PhD,

    1. Health Effects Laboratory Division, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morgantown, WV
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  • Ju-Hyeong Park ScD,

    1. Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morgantown, WV
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  • Alexis Visotcky MS,

    1. Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morgantown, WV
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  • Kathleen Kreiss MD,

    1. Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morgantown, WV
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  • Jean M. Cox-Ganser PhD

    1. Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morgantown, WV
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  • Disclosure Statement: The authors report no conflicts of interests. This work was performed by Federal Government employees as part of their work; no non-governmental funding supported this work.
  • The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
  • Mention of any company or product does not constitute endorsement by NIOSH.

Correspondence to: Sandra K.White,MS, 1095 Willowdale Road, MS-2800, Morgantown, WV 26505. E-mail: sqg8@cdc.gov

Abstract

Background

Water damage in buildings has been associated with reports of upper airway inflammation among occupants.

Methods

This survey included a questionnaire, allergen skin testing, nasal nitric oxide, and nasal lavage on 153 participants. We conducted exposure assessments of 297 workstations and analyzed collected dust for fungi, endotoxin, and (1 → 3)-β-D-glucan to create floor-specific averages.

Results

Males had higher levels of nasal inflammatory markers, and females reported more symptoms. ECP, IL-8, and MPO were significantly associated with nasal symptoms, flu-like achiness, or chills. Fungi and glucan were positively associated with blowing out thick mucus. Endotoxin was significantly associated with ECP in overall models, and with ECP, IL-8, MPO, and neutrophils among non-atopic females.

Conclusions

In this study, we documented an association between endotoxin and nasal inflammatory markers among office workers. The results of our study suggest that a non-allergic response may contribute to symptoms occurring among occupants in this water-damaged building. Am. J. Ind. Med. 56:522–530, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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