Household mouse allergen exposure and asthma morbidity in inner-city preschool children.Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 2006; 97(4):514-20AA
Inner-city children experience disproportionate asthma morbidity, and suspected reasons include indoor environmental exposures.
To determine if mouse allergen exposure is a risk factor for asthma morbidity.
Preschool children with asthma were recruited from inner-city Baltimore, MD. Skin testing was performed and blood was collected at the baseline visit for quantification of mouse allergen specific IgE. A questionnaire evaluated symptoms, medication, and health care use at baseline, 3 months, and 6 months. A trained technician collected dust samples from the child's home for analysis of Mus m 1 at baseline, 3 months, and 6 months. Outcomes were compared between mouse-sensitized, highly exposed children and all other children.
A total of 127 children had complete data for mouse sensitization status and bedroom settled dust mouse allergen levels at baseline. The mean age of the children was 4.4 years, 92% were African American, and 26% were sensitized to mouse. Mouse-sensitized children exposed to higher levels of Mus m 1 (>0.5 microg/g) had 50% more days of symptoms (incidence rate ratio [IRR], 1.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1-2.1) and 80% more days of beta-agonist use than other children (IRR, 1.8; 95% CI, 1.3-2.5). Children in the sensitized and highly exposed group were also more likely to have an unscheduled physician visit (odds ratio [OR], 3.1; 95% CI, 1.6-6.3), emergency department visit (OR, 2.1; 95% CI, 1.1-4.1), and hospitalization (OR, 36.6; 95% CI, 4.1-327.3) than other children. These associations between mouse allergen exposure and asthma symptoms and morbidity remained statistically significant after adjusting for potential confounders, including atopy and cockroach sensitization and exposure.
In mouse-sensitized inner-city children, exposure to mouse allergen may be an important cause of asthma morbidity.