Mouse allergen levels higher in schools than in homes

A study investigated allergen exposure in schools compared with homes with a specific focus on children with asthma.

Dust samples were collected from 4 urban elementary schools in the northeastern United States and from 38 student bedrooms. Samples were analyzed for:

- cat (Fel d 1)
- dog (Can f 1)
- cockroach (Bla g 2)
- dust mites (Der f 1/Der p 1)
- mouse urinary protein (MUP).

Cat and dog allergens were detectable in most school samples (96% and 78%, respectively), but at low levels.

Cockroach allergen was detectable in only 11% of school samples.

Mouse allergen was detectable in 89% of school samples. In contrast, MUP was detectable in only 26% of bedroom samples.

The authors concluded that there were:
- higher levels of MUP in school than homes
- lower levels of Der f 1 in schools than homes

It is important to recognize that children with asthma may encounter varying levels of allergens in environments outside the home, such as schools.

Mind map diagram: Indoor allergens.


Mouse allergens in urban elementary schools and homes of children with asthma. Sheehan WJ, Rangsithienchai PA, Muilenberg ML, Rogers CA, Lane JP, Ghaemghami J, Rivard DV, Otsu K, Hoffman EB, Israel E, Gold DR, Phipatanakul W. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2009 Feb;102(2):125-30.
Indoor Allergen Avoidance. Allergy Cases.
Allergy to rodents in the workplace is an occupational health problem affecting research, pharmaceutical and toxicological sectors. Allergy to rodents: an update. Clin Exp Allergy. 2010 Sep.
Poor air quality in classrooms related to asthma and rhinitis. Thorax, 2012.
Cockroaches as a potential explanation for dramatic variations between neighborhoods in asthma rates among NYC children. Reuters, 2011.
Image source: House Mouse, Mus musculus. Wikipedia, George Shuklin, Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 1.0 License.

Comments from Twitter:

Dr John Weiner @AllergyNet: And a reminder: A pet rat in the home can cause severe allergy

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