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Open AccessArticle

Asthma Case Cluster during Renovation of a Water-Damaged and Toxic Building

1
Pihlajalinna, 90140 Oulu, Finland
2
Departments of Infection Control and Process Development, Future Hospital OYS 2030 program, Oulu University Hospital, Box 21, 90029 OYS, Finland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Microorganisms 2019, 7(12), 642; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms7120642
Received: 26 November 2019 / Revised: 28 November 2019 / Accepted: 30 November 2019 / Published: 3 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbes in the Built Environment)
Background: An association between fungal exposure at work and asthma onset has been shown, but a causal relationship between them has not beTanle en established. Methods: The study describes an asthma cluster in workers in a building under renovation. Before renovation the work site had significant water damage, technical deficiencies, and ventilation problems. Worker protection was insufficient during renovation. In the building, toxicity was determined from dust as well as from cultured dust. Toxicity analysis was conducted in vitro using the boar spermatozoa motility assay. Results: During the 8-month renovation period, among 290 workers, 21 (7.2%) experienced new-onset asthma (9 women, 42.9%; 12 men, 57.1%; median age, 43 years (range, 30–60 years)). At the renovation site, they had been exposed to areas where remarkable toxicity was demonstrated in vitro. One year later, 13 (61.9%) of them still had moderate disease, and three (14.8%) had severe disease. Most patients had a poor response to inhaled corticosteroids. Conclusions: This study documents a clear temporal association between occupational exposure during renovation of a water-damaged building and a cluster of 21 new occupational asthma cases. In addition, dust and cultured dust from their work spaces showed remarkable toxicity based on inhibition of boar sperm motility in vitro. View Full-Text
Keywords: renovation; occupational asthma; indoor dust toxicity; sperm motility; fungi; bacteria renovation; occupational asthma; indoor dust toxicity; sperm motility; fungi; bacteria
MDPI and ACS Style

Hyvönen, S.; Syrjala, H. Asthma Case Cluster during Renovation of a Water-Damaged and Toxic Building. Microorganisms 2019, 7, 642.

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