|Molds produce at least 107 well characterized allergens. Hundreds of less- well characterized mold allergens may also exist. These mold allergens can often cause IgE related hypersensitivity reactions. Many studies have reported that exposure to higher levels of outdoor or indoor mold spores and/or indoor dampness is significantly associated with higher rates of both the development of asthma and the worsening of asthma.
One Chicago study reported that asthma related deaths were about twice as great during days of high outdoor air mold spore count as compared to days with low mold spore counts. Exposure to airborne mold has also been linked to higher rates of sinus problems.
About 3 to 10% of the world population is estimated to be sensitive to mold. The 4 genera most apt to cause respiratory or skin sensitivity are Alternaria, Cladosporium, Aspergillus, and Penicillium. At least 80,000 fungal species have been described. The authors state that “mold allergy has long been underestimated and occurs more frequently than expected”.
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