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Exposure and sensitization to dust mite allergens among asthmatic children in Sao Paulo, Brazil


L. Karla Arruda, MD, Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, University of Virginia Health Sciences Center, Box 225, Charlottesville, VA 22908, U.S.A.


A group of 20 mite allergic asthmatic children aged 6-12 years old. living in Sao Paulo, Brazil, was studied regarding their degree of sensitization to house dust mites and exposure to mite allergens in their homes. In 18 out of 20 houses at least one dust sample was obtained which contained > 10 μg Der p I/g of dust. The highest levels of Dermatophagoides pteronyssinm allergens, Der p I and Group II, were measured in bedding samples (geometric mean 38.4 and 36.6 μg/g, respectively), followed by bedroom floor, TV room and kitchen. Mite allergen levels in Brazilian houses were as high as those reported to be associated with sensitization and acute attacks of asthma in other parts of the world. In keeping with previous reports that D. farinae is rarely found in Brazil, Der fl was undetectable or found in very low levels (<0.5 μg/g). Levels of cat allergen Pel d I of > 8 μg/g of dust were obtained only in 2 houses only. Cockroach allergen Bia g I was detected in five out of 20 houses. Levels of IgE antibodies to D. pteronyssinus were > 200 RAST U/ml in 19 out of 20 children (geometric mean 1588 RAST U/ml). IgE antibodies to cat, cockroach, A. fumigatus, ragweed and rye grass pollens were undetectable or <80 RAST U/ml. IgE antibodies to the mite Blomia tropicalix were also measured, and levels >200 RAST U/ml were observed in 13 out of 20 sera. Immunoabsorption studies demonstrated that the bulk of the IgE- antibody to B. tropicafis (64%) was to species-specific allergens and that 36% were cross-reactive with D. pteronyssinus. The implication of our results is that management of children with asthma in São Paulo should include skin testing for allergy to both Dermatophagoides and B. tropicalis as well as recommendations about environmental control of house dust mite exposure.

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