Sensitization to Molds and Respiratory Symptoms in School Children

Taskinen1 T., M.D., Hyvärinen A., M.Sc., Meklin T., M.Sc., Husman T., M.D., Nevalainen A., Ph.D., Korppi1 M. M.D.

Kuopio University Hospital, E-mail:,

We performed a questionnaire study in 622 school children; asthma or asthmatic symptoms were present in 208 (33%) children. Moisture and mold problems weredocumented in the index school (N=414; 168 (41%) were symptomatic); the control school (N=208; 40 (19%) were symptomatic, p<0.001) had no such problems. Skin prick tests to 13 molds (9 occurring in environment and 4 indicating moisture problems in buildings) were performed in the 208 symptomatic children. A positive reaction (>3mm) was observed in only 5 (2%) children. Children who were exposed to molds in the school had more often emergency visits (OR=2.0, p<0.01) and also they had used more antibiotic courses (OR=2.1, p<0.01) than nonexposed pupils, but only during spring. Our results show that skin test positivity to molds is rare in school children. This is true in pupils with asthmatic symptoms, and also in the pupils from the school with moisture or mold problems. In addition, respiratory infections seem to be associated with mold exposure.