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Bioaerosol lung damage in a worker with repeated exposure to fungi in a water-damaged building.
Trout D; Bernstein J; Martinez KF; Biagini RE; Wallingford K
Environ Health Perspect 2001 Jun; 109:(6):641-644
There has been increased concern over health effects related to potential exposure of building occupants to bioaerosols. We report the case of a worker with a respiratory illness related to bioaerosol exposure in a water-damaged building with extensive fungal contamination. We performed environmental tests to evaluate potential exposure to fungi, and we used mycotoxin-specific IgG antibody in serologic studies in the attempt to evaluate exposure to mycotoxins. Extensive fungal contamination was documented in many areas of the building. Penicillium, Aspergillus, and Stachybotrys species were the most predominant fungi found in air sampling. Our serologic test was not useful in differentiating workers who were probably occupationally exposed to mycotoxins from those who were not; however, it did yield evidence that individuals may make specific IgG antibodies to macrocyclic tricothecene mycotoxins. Further research is needed concerning health effects related to bioaerosol exposures, particularly regarding markers of exposure to specific fungi that may produce mycotoxins. In the absence of clinical tools specific for evaluation of mycotoxin-related illness, a systematic clinical approach for evaluating persons with suspected building-related respiratory illness is warranted.
Biohazards; Respiratory-irritants; Respiratory-infections; Respiratory-system-disorders; Fungal-infections; Fungal-diseases; Fungi; Air-sampling-equipment; Air-sampling; Air-sampling-techniques; Mycotoxins; Serology; Serological-techniques; Microorganisms
Issue of Publication
Environmental Health Perspectives
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division