Goals and Objectives• To discuss illnesses caused or exacerbated by mold exposure• To discuss the impact of hurricane Katrina related flood damage and resulting mold exposure on human health• To briefly describe mold remedial measures and mold associated medico- legal issues
Case #1• PC is a 65 y/o male with a hx of allergic rhinitis chronic cough( post nasal drip) who has a 10 year history of allergen IT with his symptoms being totally controlled with Dust mite immunotherapy on maintenance. He denied wheezing SOB,
Skin Prick test result comparison Pre Katrina 1998 Post Katrina 2006Grasses Neg. Pos. (Italian rye)Trees Neg. Pos.Dust mite Pos. Pos.Weeds Neg. Neg.Molds Neg. Pos.PenicilliumAspergillus Neg. Pos.Cladosporium Neg. Pos.
HPI• Post Katrina with a 8 month hiatus in immunotherapy he had a total of 5 ER visits , wheezing , SOB, exacerbation of rhinitis symptoms , several antibiotic courses for sinusitis and systemic oral steroids for asthma exacerbations• He was also found to have AERD (Aspirin exacerbated respiratory disease) demonstrated by history latter confirmed by challenge.
CONT of HPI• Skin prick tests prior to Katrina were only positive to dust mite.• Pmhx: Allergic rhinitis, chronic cough, chronic sinusitis and allergen immunotherapy• PShx: Sinus Surgery 2000 for nasal polyps• Meds: Amoxicillin, Guafinessin, desloratidine, fluticosone, albuterol and budesonide nasal spray• Drug Allergies: Aspirin hypersensitivity
Physical Exam• Vital signs: 180lbs, temp 98.3, Bp 138/74• Nares congested• Lungs clear• Rest of exam within normal limits
Assesment/ Plan• Exacerbation of Allergic rhinitis, sinusitis, chronic cough with possible GERD association• Chest x ray wnl• Amoxicillin/Clavulinic acid 875 mg po bid for suspected sinusitis• desloratidine Qam• Azelastine spray each nostril qd• Fluticasone inhaler Bid• PEFR twice daily• Albuterol prn
The Relationship of Molds to Allergy• Alternaria sp, a common outdoor mold has been linked to asthma severity, increased likelihood of emergency room visits in sensitized individuals and even life threatening episodes of asthma• Alternaria spores are abundant in grain growing areas the peak seasons are late summer and early fall. Approximately 80% of asthmatics may have positive skin tests to one or more fungi, up to 70% of patients with fungal allergy have positive skin tests to alternaria• Cladosporium the commonest allergenic mold has also been implicated in asthma exacerbations.
Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis(HP)• Immunologic lung disease caused by high dose exposure, prolonged exposure or both to the causative inhalational allergens.• The causative agents include both Thermophillic actinomycetes from moldy hay( Farmers Lung), Pigeon droppings as well as many fungi particularly aspergillus , penicillium species.• Aspergillus species commonly present in house dust , soil particles , rotting leaves , lawn cutting leaf raking and in many occupational settings as well• Spoiled food and moldy cheese ( Pencillium sp)
Pulmonary function tests inhypersensitivity pneumonitis
IGG Precipitins• HP: the characteristic finding is the demonstration of serum precipitins( IgG class antibodies ) directed against offending antigens
Allergic Broncho pulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA)• Exposure can occur from both indoor and outdoor sources• Occurs in patients with asthma cystic fibrosis etc• Diagnostic features include cxr infiltrates , immediate cutaneous reactivity, peripheral blood eosinophillia, elevated total serum IgE as well as aspergillus specific IgE and IgG• Immunologic pathogenesis related to both type I and type III hypersensitivity reactions• Aspergillus species prevalent in house dust collected from beds• Tx, High dose and long term steroids, role of avoidance measures uncertain
Allergic Fungal Sinusitis (AFS) Similar to ABPA. Nasal polyps predispose, localized hypersensitivity reaction to aspergillus fumigatus in sinus cavity. Other fungi could also contribute to AFS i.e. bipolaris, curvalaria Features include eosinophillic mucous demonstrating non invasive fungi, positive skin tests or invitro test to aspergillus Difficult to treat and often times frequent endoscopic sinus surgery procedures is necessary
Toxic effects of Mold Exposure• Mycotoxins are low molecular weight chemicals produced by certain molds• Mycotoxin producing molds infect plants, agricultural crops (cereal grains, human foods)• Ingestion of mycotoxin can cause serious human disease. Fusarium and aspergillus species are important examples.
(Contd)Toxic effects of Mold exposure• There has been an illness described in the literature as Alimentary toxic aleukia characterized by GI symptoms, weakness and aplastic cytopenia• The occurrence of Mycotoxicosis from exposure to inhaled mycotoxins in non occupational setting in not supported by current data and its occurrence is improbable (Bush et al 06)
Irritant effects of mold exposure• Irritating substances produced by molds include volatile organic compounds (MVOCs) and particulates (e.g. spores, hyphae, and their components)• MVOCs are responsible for musty odor• Mold related irritant reactions involving eyes, upper and lower airways may be transient symptoms and signs persisting for weeks after exposure, and neurologic, cognitive or systemic complaints• (e.g. chronic fatigue) should not be ascribed to irritant exposure (Bush et al JACI 06)
Immune Dysfunction• Exposure to Molds and their products does not induce a state of immune dysregulation (immune deficiency or autoimmunity)
Laboratory Assessment• Patient workup• Measurement of molds and mold products in patients environment
Patient workup, Lab assessment• Measurement of antibodies to specific molds has scientific merit in the assessment of IgE mediated allergic disease, HP and ABPA• Presence of antibodies to molds can not be used as a marker to define dose timing or location of exposure.• Testing of antibodies to mycotoxins is not scientifically validated and should not be relied on
Measurement of molds and mold product exposure in the patients environment• Air testing is the most relevant measure of exposure and is reported as CFU or spore/m3• Simultaneous indoor vs. outdoor fungal spore is necessary to interpret mold exposure• Total fungal spore greater in concentration indoors than outdoor air might be evidence of increased fungal spores indoors• Bulk surface and within wall cavity measurements dont necessarily provide a measure of exposure
Controversies in fungal disease• The overwhelming majority of claims for illness that generate litigation are based on the presence of any indoor molds and non specific symptoms• Often times without objective physical findings and lack of specific relevant laboratory supporting data
Published mold exposure studiesReference History attributed to mold Affected building and specific exposure mold implicatedBrunkreef 1989 6273 children respiratory Homes total mold spores count questionnaires no controls*Strachan 1990 Children with asthma wheezing Homes total mold spores count more in home units higher mold counts. Spirometry performedJohanning 1993 43 workers questionnaires no Office building stachyboytrus control subjects speciesHodgosn 1998 197 workers questionnaires case Office building aspergillus control study control building was penicillium stachyboytrus not tested for mold quantitation*Santilli and rockwell 2003 Rhinitis questionnaire 85 students Two schools total mold spores and teachersCooley 1998 622 adult workers at 48 schools Schools penicillium with indoor air quality complaints stachyboytrus no control subjects
Sick Building Syndrome• The term "sick building syndrome" (SBS) is used to describe situations in which building occupants experience acute health and comfort effects that appear to be linked to time spent in a building, but no specific illness or cause can be identified.
Sick Building Syndrome• A 1984 World Health Organization Committee report suggested that up to 30 percent of new and remodeled buildings worldwide may be the subject of excessive complaints related to indoor air quality (IAQ)• The causes usually inadequate ventilation, biological contaminants, chemical agents and the symptoms improve on leaving the environment
Stachybotrys• 45 young infants (most under 6 months old), in the eastern neighborhoods of Cleveland, who had Pulmonary Hemorrhage (16 kids died) appears to be caused by something in their home environments, most likely toxins produced by an unusual fungus called Stachybotrys chartarum or similar fungi Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Acute Pulmonary Hemorrhage/Hemosiderosis among Infants- Cleveland, January 1993-November 1994. Morbidity and Mortality Report, Vol. 43, No. 48, December 9, 1994
The Case of Stachybotrys• Requires substantial humidity for growth• Grows on cellulose rich media-examples wall paper, fiber board , gypsum, insulation materials, wood pulp, Lint, carpet, cereal grains, plant, debris flood damaged buildings with high humidity• Produces mycotoxins( trichotecenes)• Similar mycotoxins produced by other fungi i.e. fusarium, acretonium
• In 1931(Ukraine) there was an epidemic amongst horses who developed stomatitis, rhinitis, conjunctivitis, pancytopenia, neurologic disorders, deaths( Massovie Zabouluanie)• Trichothecenes mycotoxins inhibit protein synthesis , impair immune function , prolong skin graft survival, hemorrhagic inflammatory lung injury.• (Mahmoudi M, Gershwine. Jr of Asthma 37(2)191,2000)
• The contaminated buildings had considerably higher indoor mold counts than outdoor counts( IOM report 2004)• Several clinical studies report significant respiratory disease in schools, office buildings, court houses and homes in many instances Stachyboytrys was isolated (Goldstein GB, Jaci Sep 2006)
Air conditioner Mold Contamination• Automobile air conditioner contamination with molds and exacerbation of respiratory allergies; Kumar et al NEJM 1984• Hypersensitivity pneumonitis due to air conditioner contamination; Kumar et al NEJM 1983
Mold remediation• DRY QUICKLY – Dry items before mold grows, if possible. In most cases, mold will not grow if wet or damp items are dried within 24-48 hours• ASSESS MOLD PROBLEM – Are there existing moisture problems in the building? – Have building materials been wet more than 48 hours? – Are there hidden sources of water, or is the humidity high enough to cause condensation?• REMEDIATION PLAN – How the water or moisture problem will be fixed so the mold problem does not recur. – How the moldy building materials will be removed to avoid spreading mold• MOLD REMEDIATION PROCEDURES – Damp wipe with bleach and detergent mixed one cup to a gallon of water avoid mixing with ammonia ( i.e. cleaning detergents)
Rebuttal of position paper on Mold Allergy• (JACI-correspondence, vol 118, No3, sep 2006)• The authors of the position paper had conflict of interest• Respirable trichotehecene mycotoxins can be demonstrated in the air of stachybotrys chartarum contaminated buildings• Trichothecene mycotoxin has been shown to cause nausea vomiting, low blood pressure, drowsiness, ataxia, mental confusion• Similar symptoms reported by individuals from sc- contaminated buildings (Straus, Wilson, JACI 2006)• 93 residents of apt. complex with chronic visible mold contamination reported multiple symptoms (cough 49%, rhinitis 44%, wheeze 31%, headache 41%.
Adverse Health effects of Indoor Mold exposure• “ We agree the mold exposure has become a litigious issue. But are we as physicians to choose sides ? Or are we to evaluate objectively the alleged effects of toxic mold exposure? We suspect your interpretations of where and what is not supported by scientific evidence might at least in part represent an agenda for the defense” (Lieberman A, JACI Sep 2006)