gms | German Medical Science

MAINZ//2011: 56. GMDS-Jahrestagung und 6. DGEpi-Jahrestagung

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Medizinische Informatik, Biometrie und Epidemiologie e. V.
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Epidemiologie e. V.

26. - 29.09.2011 in Mainz

Meta-Analysis of mould and dampness exposure on asthma and allergy in 8 European birth cohorts: an ENRIECO initiative

Meeting Abstract

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  • Christina Tischer - Helmholtz Zentrum München, Neuherberg

Mainz//2011. 56. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Medizinische Informatik, Biometrie und Epidemiologie (gmds), 6. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Epidemiologie (DGEpi). Mainz, 26.-29.09.2011. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2011. Doc11gmds264

doi: 10.3205/11gmds264, urn:nbn:de:0183-11gmds2647

Published: September 20, 2011

© 2011 Tischer.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Background: Reviews within the past 10 years observed an increased risk of respiratory and allergic health outcomes in children living in a damp and mouldy environment. However, a considerable part of previous investigations were cross-sectional based with only a single time point of health outcome assessment.

Objective: The objective of this study was to describe the association between reported mould and / or dampness exposure early in life and subsequently development of allergic health outcomes in children from 8 European birth cohort studies at different time points of health outcome assessment.

Methods: We performed meta-analyses with data from 8 ongoing European birth cohort studies on asthma, rhino-conjunctivitis and sensitization against aero-allergens and mould allergens. The subjects were recruited between 1990 and 2004. Data from 31.742 children were analysed. Exposure to visible mould and / or dampness as well as allergic health outcomes were assessed by parental questionnaires and at different time points between birth and 10 years of age. Each cohort data was analysed with logistic regression models using an identical statistical protocol. Meta-analyses with random effect models were applied.

Results: Early exposure to mould and / or dampness between birth and 2 years of age ranged from 13% in Italian to 67% in the U.K. cohorts. Across cohorts, exposure to visible mould and / or dampness was associated with an increased risk for developing asthma in early childhood (0-2 years: aOR 1.36 (95%CI 1.12 – 1.65)), school age (6-10 years: aOR 1.12 (0.97-1.28)) and at any time point between 3-10 years (aOR 1.09 (0.91-1.31)) in adjusted analysis. There was a statistically significant association with rhino-conjunctivitis at school age (6-10 years: aOR 1.13 (1.04-1.21)) and at any time point between 3-10 years: (aOR 1.18 (1.09–1.26)). Mould and / or visible dampness exposure early in life was not associated with the development of sensitization against common aero-allergens and mould allergens at school age.

Conclusion: These findings suggest that a damp and mouldy home environment early in life is associated with an increased risk for asthma and rhino-conjunctivitis in school age children.


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