Clinical & Experimental Allergy

Reduced mite allergen levels in dwellings with mechanical exhaust and supply ventilation

Authors

  • M. WICKMAN,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Environmental Health and infectious Diseases Control, Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
    2. Department of Paediatrics. St. Göran's Children's Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
    3. Department of Environmental Hygiene, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden
      Dr M. Wickman, Department of Environmental Health and Infectious Diseases Control, Karolinska Hospital, S-171 76 Stockholm, Sweden.
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  • G. EMENIUS,

    1. Department of Environmental Health and infectious Diseases Control, Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
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  • A-C. EGMAR,

    1. Department of Environmental Health and infectious Diseases Control, Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
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  • G. AXELSSON,

    1. Department of Environmental Health and infectious Diseases Control, Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
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  • G. PERSHAGEN

    1. Department of Environmental Health and infectious Diseases Control, Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
    2. Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden
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Dr M. Wickman, Department of Environmental Health and Infectious Diseases Control, Karolinska Hospital, S-171 76 Stockholm, Sweden.

Summary

Seventy similar bungalows constructed between 1968 and 1970 in the same suburban area of Stockholm were investigated regarding the content of house dust mite allergen, absolute indoor humidity, type of ventilation and basement construction. Houses with mechanical exhaust and supply ventilation had an indoor humidity above 7 g/kg less often than houses without this type of ventilation (Odds ratio 0.1, 95% confidence interval 0.0-0.2). Furthermore, only five of the 24 houses with exhaust and supply ventilation contained mattress dust mite allergen concentrations exceeding the median value (98.5 ng/g) compared with 30 of 46 hours which did not have such ventilation (odds ratio =0.1, C.I. 0.0–0.5). Houses with both natural ventilation and crawl space basement harboured significantly less mattress mite allergen than houses having the same type of ventilation, but with a concrete slab basement. In a cold temperate climate, type of building construction and ventilation seem to be important for the occurrence of house dust mite allergens in dwellings. Our results indicate that modern energy-efficient houses should be equipped with mechanical exhaust and supply ventilation to reduce indoor air humidity during the dry winter months and the risk of mite infestation.

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