Infant pulmonary hemorrhage in a suburban home with water damage and mold (Stachybotrys atra)

Environ Health Perspect. 1999 Nov;107(11):927-30. doi: 10.1289/ehp.99107927.


The American Academy of Pediatrics recently issued guidelines regarding the potential toxic effect of indoor molds. We now report another case of an infant with pulmonary hemorrhage whose residential environmental assessment revealed the presence of the toxigenic mold Stachybotrys atra. We used a questionnaire to identify environmental factors that could predispose the home to fungal contamination. We collected air samples from multiple locations in the home that we felt would reflect areas of relevant exposure. Surface samples were collected with a piece of transparent tape for semiquantitative measurement of spores present. We classified spores into their respective genera based on shape, size, and color. We also measured mycotoxin levels. Air sampling revealed significantly elevated total spore counts in the patient's bedroom and in the attic. Aspergillus/Penicillium species were predominant. Stachybotrys spores were found in the air sampled in the patient's bedroom, as well as from surfaces sampled in the patient's closet and the attic ceiling. Additionally, a small patch of Stachybotrys-contaminated area in the closet ceiling was sent for mycotoxin analysis. This material proved to be highly toxigenic. As the link between the presence of Stachybotrys in the home and pulmonary hemorrhage in infants increases, further efforts should be made to educate physicians, health care providers, and new parents about the potential toxic effects of this mold.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollution, Indoor / adverse effects*
  • Hemorrhage / etiology*
  • Hemorrhage / microbiology
  • Housing
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Lung Diseases / etiology*
  • Lung Diseases / microbiology
  • Male
  • Stachybotrys / pathogenicity*
  • Suburban Population