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Summary

Fifty dust samples were collected from the mattresses and bedroom floors of 25 subjects with allergic asthma in Cartagena, Colombia, in order to identify house dust mites and quantitate Der p I, Derf I and Blomia tropicalis allergens. The geometric mean of the total mite density per gram of dust was 418 (range, 40–2280). Twenty-two samples (44%) had more than 500 mites and four, less than 100. B. tropicalis and Dermatopha-goides pteronyssinus were found in 96% and 90% of the samples, accounting for 40.1% and 35.7% of the total mites, respectively. Cheyletus malaccensis, Chortoglyphus arcuatus, Pyroglyphus africanus, Orihatids, Grallacheles bakeri. Tarsonemus spp., Suidasia spp., Dermatophagoides farinae and unidentified mites accounted for the rest. The geometric mean of the total mites/gram of dust in mattresses (563.9) was significantly higher than in floor dust (309. 1), P < 0.01. Allergen concentrations and mite numbers were analysed by Spearman rank correlations: B. tropicalis mites vs B. tropicalis allergen, r= 0.54, P<0.001; D. pteronyssinus mites vs Der p I, r= 0.52, P< 0.001. A negative correlation was obtained between B. tropicalis mites and Der p I. Allergens derived from B. tropicalis and other domestic mite species may play an important role in sensitization and allergic symptoms in Cartagena, Colombia.