Neighborhood differences in exposure and sensitization to cockroach, mouse, dust mite, cat, and dog allergens in New York City

Omar Olmedo, Inge F Goldstein, Luis Acosta, Adnan Divjan, Andrew G Rundle, Ginger L Chew, Robert B Mellins, Lori Hoepner, Howard Andrews, Sara Lopez-Pintado, James W Quinn, Frederica P Perera, Rachel L Miller, Judith S Jacobson, Matthew S Perzanowski
Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 2011, 128 (2): 284-292.e7

BACKGROUND: Asthma prevalence varies widely among neighborhoods within New York City. Exposure to mouse and cockroach allergens has been suggested as a cause.

OBJECTIVE: To test the hypotheses that children living in high asthma prevalence neighborhoods (HAPNs) would have higher concentrations of cockroach and mouse allergens in their homes than children in low asthma prevalence neighborhoods (LAPNs), and that these exposures would be related to sensitization and asthma.

METHODS: In the New York City Neighborhood Asthma and Allergy Study, a case-control study of asthma, children 7 to 8 years old from HAPNs (n = 120) and LAPNs (n = 119) were recruited through the same middle-income health insurance plan. Children were classified as asthma cases (n = 128) or controls without asthma (n = 111) on the basis of reported symptoms or medication use. Allergens were measured in bed dust.

RESULTS: HAPN homes had higher Bla g 2 (P = .001), Mus m 1 (P = .003), and Fel d 1 (P = .003) and lower Der f 1 (P = .001) than LAPN homes. Sensitization to indoor allergens was associated with asthma, but relevant allergens differed between LAPNs and HAPNs. Sensitization to cockroach was more common among HAPN than LAPN children (23.7% vs 10.8%; P = .011). Increasing allergen exposure was associated with increased probability of sensitization (IgE) to cockroach (P < .001), dust mite (P = .009), and cat (P = .001), but not mouse (P = .58) or dog (P = .85).

CONCLUSION: These findings further demonstrate the relevance of exposure and sensitization to cockroach and mouse in an urban community and suggest that cockroach allergen exposure could contribute to the higher asthma prevalence observed in some compared with other New York City neighborhoods.

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