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Keywords:

  • house dust mites;
  • Dermatophagoides;
  • allergen analysis;
  • ELISA

ABSTRACT. Atopic sensitization of children in the Stockholm area to house dust mites (HDM) was investigated in a case-control study. Sixty children with and 60 without positive skin prick tests for HDM were matched for age and sex. HDM-sensitized children had previously more often lived in other areas known to be mite infested than the control children. Sensitization to mites was related to dampness in the homes, but no significant relationship was found to the type of residence, frequent visits to a summer house in the archipelago or parental smoking. Dust samples from mattresses of the children with the strongest positive reactions to miles in skin prick tests and the respective controls were subjected to an enzyme immunoassay, to measure the content of the major allergens of the Dermatophagoides (D.) species D. pterinyssinus, D. farinae and D. microceras. Mattress dust samples from the beds of HDM-sensitized children contained significantly higher HDM antigen concentrations than those from the beds of controls. Private houses contained significantly more HDM antigens than flats and 10 of 11 homes in which a dampness problem was recognized contained mite antigens. It is postulated that mite infestation is increasing in the area, energy-saving measures creating improved conditions for HDM survival.