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Tischer, Christina; Zock, Jan-Paul; Valkonen, Maria; Doekes, Gert; Guerra, Stefano; Heederik, Dick; Jarvis, Deborah; Norbäck, Dan; Olivieri, Mario; Sunyer, Jordi; Svanes, Cecilie; Täubel, Martin; Thiering, Elisabeth; Verlato, Giuseppe; Hyvärinen, Anne and Heinrich, Joachim (2015): Predictors of microbial agents in dust and respiratory health in the Ecrhs. In: BMC Pulmonary Medicine 15:48 [PDF, 1MB]

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Background: Dampness and mould exposure have been repeatedly associated with respiratory health. However, less is known about the specific agents provoking or arresting health effects in adult populations. We aimed to assess predictors of microbial agents in mattress dust throughout Europe and to investigate associations between microbial exposures, home characteristics and respiratory health. Methods: Seven different fungal and bacterial parameters were assessed in mattress dust from 956 adult ECRHS II participants in addition to interview based home characteristics. Associations between microbial parameters and the asthma score and lung function were examined using mixed negative binomial regression and linear mixed models, respectively. Results: Indoor dampness and pet keeping were significant predictors for higher microbial agent concentrations in mattress dust. Current mould and condensation in the bedroom were significantly associated with lung function decline and current mould at home was positively associated with the asthma score. Higher concentrations of muramic acid were associated with higher mean ratios of the asthma score (aMR 1.37, 95% CI 1.17-1.61). There was no evidence for any association between fungal and bacterial components and lung function. Conclusion: Indoor dampness was associated with microbial levels in mattress dust which in turn was positively associated with asthma symptoms.

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