House dust mite sensitivity is very common in patients with bronchial asthma, yet dust mite avoidance frequently receives little attention in clinical management. It is likely that any reduction in allergen levels associated with routine cleaning is insufficient to allow clinical improvement. In the present study the acaricide pirimiphos methyl is shown to reduce the levels of Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus, antigen P1 in homes. Following a single application the level of antigen P1 in dust from carpets was reduced by up to 73% and by more than 50% in soft furnishings. Serial sampling showed a reduction for 6 weeks under conditions where carpets and chairs treated with solvent showed a progressive rise in allergen level. Furthermore the survival of mites in cultures or infested carpet segments was markedly inhibited, with antigen PI accumulation reduced by >90%. These results suggest major reductions in house dust mite allergen levels in the home can be achieved.
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