A cross-sectional study was conducted in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, to identify and quantify indoor allergens, serine proteases, and bacterial endotoxin present in homes of asthmatic children. A total of 126 dust samples from houses were obtained from the entire mattress and bedside floor. Most of the patients had detectable levels of mite, cockroach, cat, and dog allergens. Mold allergens were found only in bedside floor dust samples. Mouse allergens were not detected. Forty-two percent, 36.5%, and 1.8% of the patients demonstrated exposures to sensitizing levels of mite, Bla g 1 and cat allergens, respectively. The percentage of patients exposed to high levels of allergens capable of triggering asthma symptoms was 33.3% and 26.4% for mite and Bla g 1 allergens. Only dog allergen, bacterial endotoxin, elastase, and trypsin were associated with asthma symptoms. Eighty-nine percent of the asthmatic children were exposed to endotoxin concentrations greater than 100 EU/mg dust, and more than half of the patients were exposed to high levels of serine proteases. Our study indicates that indoor concentrations of allergens traditionally associated with asthma symptoms and severity may not be applicable in tropical environments and highly ventilated households. In fact, in the study population, endotoxins, dog allergen, and serine proteases may play a dominant role in the induction of asthma symptoms.
Journal of Asthma 07/2004; 41(4):485-96. DOI:10.1081/JAS-120033993 · 1.83 Impact Factor