Symptoms after mould exposure including Stachybotrys chartarum, and comparison with darkroom disease
Al-Ahmad, M., Manno, M., Ng, V., Ribeiro, M., Liss, G.M. & Tarlo, S.M. (2010). Symptoms after mould exposure including Stachybotrys chartarum, and comparison with darkroom disease. Allergy. 65: 245-255.
Background: Mould-attributed symptoms have included features which overlap with unexplained syndromes such as sick building syndrome.
Objectives: We describe questionnaire and chart review findings in patients following exposure to moulds which include Stachybotrys and compare responses with twocontrol groups.
Methods: Thirty-two patients presented with symptoms attributed to mould exposures. Exposure identification for 25 patients had reported S tachybotrys chartarum as well as other mould (Aspergillus, Penicillium), 88% at work. The remaining seven had professionally visualized or self-reported/photographic exposure evidence only. A chart review was performed and a follow-up with a questionnaire, including questions on current health status, and nonspecific symptoms.
Results: Cough, shortness of breath and chest tightness (at presentation) were reported in 79%, 70% and 64%, respectively, and persisted >6 weeks in 91%. Skin test(s) were positive to fungal extract(s) in 30%. Seventeen returned questionnaires were obtained 3.1 (SD 0.5) years after the initial clinic assessment. Among this subgroup, persisting asthma-like symptoms and symptoms suggestive of sick building syndrome were frequent, and similar to a group previously assessed for darkroom disease among medical radiation technologists. The mould-exposed group more commonly reported they were bothered when walking in a room with carpets, complained of a chemical or metallic taste in their mouth, and had problems in concentration when compared with a control physiotherapist group (P < 0.005).
Conclusions: Although only a minority with health concerns from indoor mould exposure had demonstrable mould-allergy, a significant proportion had asthma-like symptoms. Other symptoms were also common and persistent after the initial implicated exposure.