Mold exposure during infancy as a predictor of potential asthma development

Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2009 Feb;102(2):131-7. doi: 10.1016/S1081-1206(10)60243-8.


Background: Exposure to mold has been associated with exacerbation of asthma symptoms in children.

Objective: To report how the presence of visible mold and exposure to (1-3)-beta-D-glucan in infancy affects the risk of asthma at the age of 3 years as defined by an Asthma Predictive Index (API).

Methods: Visible mold was evaluated by means of home inspection. (1-3)-beta-D-glucan levels were measured in settled dust. Children were considered to be at high risk for asthma at later ages if they reported recurrent wheezing at the age of 3 years and met at least 1 of 3 major or 2 of 3 minor API criteria.

Results: Children aged 3 years with high visible mold in the home during infancy were 7 times more likely to have a positive API than were those with no visible mold (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 7.1; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.2-12.6). In contrast, at low (1-3)-beta-D-glucan levels (< 22 microg/g), children were at increased risk of a positive API (aOR, 3.4; 95% CI, 0.5-23.5), whereas those with high (1-3)-beta-D-glucan levels (> 133 microg/g) were at decreased risk (aOR, 0.6; 95% CI, 0.2-1.6). Of the other covariates, mother's smoking was the strongest significant risk factor for the future development of asthma based on a positive API (aOR, 4.4; 95% CI, 1.7-11.6).

Conclusions: The presence of high visible mold and mother's smoking during infancy were the strongest risk factors for a positive API at the age of 3 years, suggesting an increased risk of asthma. High (1-3)-beta-D-glucan exposure seems to have an opposite effect on API than does visible mold.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / immunology*
  • Asthma / etiology
  • Asthma / immunology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Fungi / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Respiratory Sounds / etiology
  • Respiratory Sounds / immunology*
  • Risk Factors


  • Allergens