Asthmatic symptoms and indoor levels of micro-organisms and house dust mites

Clin Exp Allergy. 1995 May;25(5):423-31. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2222.1995.tb01073.x.


As a part of a worldwide investigation on the prevalence of respiratory symptoms, we have performed a study on the relationship between the indoor environment and asthma-like symptoms in the population of a central Swedish municipality. The study comprised 88 individuals, aged 20-45 years who underwent a structured interview, spirometry, a methacholine provocation test, skin-prick tests and blood samples for measurements of serum concentrations of eosinophil cationic protein (S-ECP), blood eosinophil count and total immunoglobulin E (S-IgE). In the homes, the room temperature, air humidity, respirable dust, house dust mites (HDM) and airborne micro-organisms were measured. The relative humidity in all the homes was found to be above 33%. HDM were found in 13% of homes. In the homes of the 47 subjects with asthma related symptoms, significantly higher total levels of bacteria and mould (P < 0.05) and a higher proportion of detected HDM (OR = 5.3) was found than in subjects with no asthma related symptoms, after adjustment for age, sex, smoking, indoor temperature and air humidity. HDM were found to be an independent risk factor for asthma related symptoms (OR = 7.9) and nocturnal breathlessness (OR = 6.2) (P < 0.05), while the total level of bacteria was a risk factor for asthma related symptoms and wheezing (P < 0.05). We conclude that although HDM is relatively infrequently found in the homes of central-Sweden, the presence of HDM is related to asthmatic symptoms. A relation between levels of airborne bacteria and asthma related symptoms was also found.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Air Microbiology*
  • Air Pollution, Indoor*
  • Allergens / adverse effects
  • Allergens / immunology
  • Animals
  • Asthma / epidemiology
  • Asthma / etiology*
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Dust*
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mites / immunology*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Peak Expiratory Flow Rate
  • Skin Tests
  • Sweden / epidemiology


  • Allergens
  • Dust