Sensitization to Alternaria and Cladosporium in patients with respiratory allergy and outdoor counts of mold spores in Ankara atmosphere, Turkey

Author(s): Bavbek S, Erkekol FO, Ceter T

Abstract

Sensitization to Alternaria and Cladosporium has been reported to be 3% to 30% in European countries. However, in Turkey, there is limited data about the prevalence of sensitization to these molds and the intensity of the two mold spores in Ankara atmosphere. This study was designed to evaluate the sensitization to Alternaria and Cladosporium in patients with respiratory allergy in Ankara and also the concentration of the two molds in Ankara atmosphere. Allergic rhinitis and asthma patients living in Ankara were included in the study. Demographic and diagnostic data of the patients were recorded. A skin prick test with extracts supplied by three different laboratories was used to evaluate the sensitization to Alternaria and Cladosporium. Mold spores were measured using a Burkard 7-day recording volumetric spore trap in Ankara atmosphere during a year. Overall sensitization to the two molds was found to be 14.8%, and isolated Alternaria or Cladosporiumsensitization was 3%. Considering the positive reaction to at least one of the three suppliers, the sensitization rate was 11.9% and 8.1% for Alternaria and Cladosporium, respectively. Cochran's Q homogenization test demonstrated that the positive and negative reaction were not homogeneous among three laboratories. The total number of mold spores in Ankara atmosphere was 429,264 spores/m3 of which 75.5% and 6% were constituted by Cladosporium and Alternaria, respectively. The prevalence of Cladosporium and Alternaria sensitization in respiratory allergy patients is quite similar to European countries; however, our data indicate that commercial mold extracts should be standardized to establish the real sensitization rates. Additionally, considering the great numbers of these mold spores in Ankara atmosphere, long-term follow-up studies are needed to evaluate the relationship between the mold load and sensitization patterns.

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