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Title: Airborne fungi in low and high allergic prevalence child care centers
Authors: Zuraimi, M.S.
Fang, L.
Tan, T.K. 
Chew, F.T. 
Tham, K.W. 
Keywords: Aerodynamic size
Airborne fungi
Allergic symptoms
Child care centers (CCCs)
Issue Date: May-2009
Citation: Zuraimi, M.S., Fang, L., Tan, T.K., Chew, F.T., Tham, K.W. (2009-05). Airborne fungi in low and high allergic prevalence child care centers. Atmospheric Environment 43 (15) : 2391-2400. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Fungi exposure has been linked to asthma and allergies among children. To determine the association between fungal exposure and wheeze and rhinitis symptoms, we examined concentrations of culturable indoor and outdoor fungi of various aerodynamic sizes in low and high allergic prevalence child care centers (CCCs) in Singapore. Environmental parameters were also performed for air temperature, relative humidity and ventilation rates, while information on CCC characteristics was collected via an inspection. Most commonly recovered fungi were Penicillium, Aspergillus, Geotrichum, Cladosporium and sterile mycelia with Geotrichum and sterile mycelia amounting to an average of 71.5% of the total airborne culturable fungi studied. Indoor and outdoor total culturable fungi concentrations and those in the size range of 1.1-3.3 μm were significantly higher in high allergic prevalence CCCs. When fungal types/genera were compared, indoor and outdoor Geotrichum and sterile mycelia of aerodynamic sizes 1.1-3.3 μm were found to be significantly elevated in high allergic prevalence CCCs. Indeed, average geometric mean diameters (Dg, ave) of indoor and outdoor culturable fungi were consistently smaller in CCCs with high prevalence of allergies than those with low prevalence. We found significant associations of higher fungal concentrations, especially those with smaller aerodynamic sizes in CCCs situated near parks. There were no differences in fungal levels between CCCs with respect to their dampness profile mainly due to high CCC ventilation rates. Since particle size is a factor that determines where a fungi particle deposits in the respiratory tract, this study provides useful information in the etiology of wheeze and rhinitis symptoms among the CCC attending children. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Source Title: Atmospheric Environment
ISSN: 13522310
DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2009.02.004
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