Exposure to mould allergens and rhinoconjunctivitis in Korean children

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Although rhinitis is the most common allergic disease in children, few studies have explored the causal relationships between mould allergens and rhinitis. Thus, this study aimed to identify factors, especially prior exposure to mould allergens, related to rhinitis and rhinoconjunctivitis in Korean children.


Subjects in this study were 12- to 13-year-old children from 40 national middle schools who were participants of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) study in Korea. A total of 3852 children who completed the ISAAC questionnaire in 2010 and underwent a skin prick test (SPT) and blood test were enrolled in this study.


The prevalence of symptoms suggestive of rhinitis or rhinoconjunctivitis in last 12 months was 42.7% and 19.4%, respectively. A parental history of allergies (OR = 2.03, 95% CI = 1.75–2.35; OR = 2.55, 95% CI = 2.13–3.06), visible mould or dampness (OR = 1.28, 95% CI = 1.09–1.51; OR = 1.23, 95% CI = 1.00–1.51), previous exposure to mould allergens (OR = 4.53, 95% CI = 2.32–8.84; OR = 4.98, 95% CI = 2.43–10.20), total IgE levels ≥78 kU/l (OR = 1.44, 95% CI = 1.22–1.69; OR = 1.99, 95% CI = 1.60–2.48) were risk factors for rhinitis and rhinoconjunctivitis.


This study suggested that previous exposure to mould allergens more influenced rhinitis and rhinoconjunctivitis than visible mould or dampness, and that total IgE levels of ≥78 kU/l, which was the criterion suggested in a study of Asian children, were risk factors for rhinitis diseases.

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