Background: The aim of the present study was to evaluate the prevalence of sensitization to molds and to house dust mites (HDM) in pre-school children with newly-diagnosed asthma.
Methods: From 1996 to 2000, 122 children 1 to 6 years of age with fresh asthma treated in the Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland, were recruited in the study; 94% attended. Skin prick tests were performed to common inhalant allergens and to 10 molds. The homes were surveyed for moisture damage.
Results: A majority of the houses had signs of dampness and moisture. One-third of the children reacted to inhalant allergens. There were 11 positive reactions to molds in five children who all reacted to at least one animal dander or seasonal pollen. Aspergillus fumigatus, Botrytis cinerea, and Cladosporium herbarum were the most common mold allergens. There were only two children with positive reactions to HDM, and none of them reacted to molds. No associations were found between the presence or degree of moisture problems at home and mold or HDM allergy.
Conclusion: Sensitization to molds seems to play only a minor role in pre-school children with newly-diagnosed asthma in a northern climate where the incidences of mold and HDM allergies are rather low.