Rabito FA, Iqbal S, Kiernan MP, Holt E, Chew GL. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2008;121(3):622–625
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY. To study indoor air mold levels, lung function, and respiratory symptoms in a sample of children returning to live in New Orleans, Louisiana, immediately after Hurricane Katrina.
STUDY POPULATION. Participants were children aged 7 to 14 years currently residing in greater New Orleans with no plans to move. All study participants were recruited from a private primary school in the Garden District of New Orleans.
METHODS. Parents of all study participants completed a respiratory health symptom questionnaire during February/March and April/May 2006. During these defined study points, the children performed spirometry, and indoor and outdoor air sampling was performed. All data were statistically analyzed to determine if indoor mold levels correlated to the children's respiratory health.
RESULTS. Average indoor and outdoor mold concentrations decreased during the study, although only the reduction in outdoor mold levels reached statistical significance. Pulmonary function of all study participants was >80% of predicted at both study points. Participants were stratified according to asthma history and flooding status, but no lung-function decrements were observed with stratification. A trend was seen in which respiratory symptoms increased after the hurricane and seemed to improve during the study. This difference, however, was only statistically significant for lower respiratory tract symptoms.
CONCLUSIONS. Indoor mold levels were low and pulmonary function in a sample of children living in New Orleans was normal >6 months after Hurricane Katrina.
REVIEWER COMMENTS. The Children's Respiratory Health Study is the first published study to evaluate pediatric respiratory health and indoor mold in the post–Hurricane Katrina environment. Although a small sample size was evaluated, this study provides practitioners with objective, reassuring findings. This study, however, included children who were exposed to limited flood damage. This possible selection bias should not allow us to ignore respiratory symptoms in the pediatric population returning to the more damaged neighborhoods. We look forward to further research studying this at-risk pediatric population.
- Copyright © 2008 by the American Academy of Pediatrics