Mold exposure and health effects following hurricanes Katrina and Rita

Annu Rev Public Health. 2010;31:165-78 1 p following 178. doi: 10.1146/annurev.publhealth.012809.103643.


The extensive flooding in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita created conditions ideal for indoor mold growth, raising concerns about the possible adverse health effects associated with indoor mold exposure. Studies evaluating the levels of indoor and outdoor molds in the months following the hurricanes found high levels of mold growth. Homes with greater flood damage, especially those with >3 feet of indoor flooding, demonstrated higher levels of mold growth compared with homes with little or no flooding. Water intrusion due to roof damage was also associated with mold growth. However, no increase in the occurrence of adverse health outcomes has been observed in published reports to date. This article considers reasons why studies of mold exposure after the hurricane do not show a greater health impact.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / adverse effects*
  • Critical Illness
  • Cyclonic Storms*
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Floods
  • Fungi / growth & development*
  • Humans
  • New Orleans
  • Respiratory System / immunology


  • Air Pollutants