Distribution and determinants of house dust mite allergens in Europe: The European Community Respiratory Health Survey II

Jan Paul Zock, Joachim Heinrich, Deborah Jarvis, Giuseppe Verlato, Dan Norbäck, Estel Plana, Jordi Sunyer, Susan Chinn, Mario Olivieri, Argo Soon, Simona Villani, Michela Ponzio, Anna Dahlman-Hoglund, Cecilie Svanes, Christina Luczynska, J. Knox, J. Potts, S. Arinze, Josep M. Antó, Peter BurneyIsa Cerveri, Susan Chinn, Roberto de Marco, Thorarinn Gislason, Christer Janson, Nino Künzli, Bénédicte Leynaert, Christina Luczynska, Françoise Neukirch, J. Schouten, Cecilie Svanes, Paulatthias Vermeire, Matthias Wjst, J. Weyler, M. Van Sprundel, V. Nelen, R. Jogi, F. Neukirch, R. Liard, M. Zureik, I. Pin, J. Ferran-Quentin, C. Frye, I. Meyer, E. Bjornsson, D. Gislason, T. Blondal, A. Karlsdottir, M. Bugiani, P. Piccioni, A. Carosso, W. Arossa, E. Caria, G. Castiglioni, E. Migliore, C. Romano, D. Fabbro, G. Ciccone, C. Magnani, P. Dalmasso, R. Bono, G. Gigli, A. Giraudo, M. C. Brussino, C. Bucca, G. Rolla, E. Zanolin, S. Accordini, A. Poli, V. Lo Cascio, M. Ferrari, A. Marinoni, F. Frigerio, M. Comelli, M. Grassi, A. Corsico, J. M. Antó, M. Kogevinas, X. Basagana, A. Jaen, F. Burgos, J. Maldonado, A. Pereira, J. L. Sanchez, J. Martinez-Moratalla Rovira, E. Almar, N. Muniozguren, I. Urritia, F. Payo, G. Boman, D. Norback, M. Gunnbjornsdottir, K. Toren, L. Lillienberg, R. Sundberg, E. Norrman, M. Soderberg, K. Franklin, B. Lundback, B. Forsberg, L. Nystrom, B. Dibbert, M. Hazenkamp, M. Brutsche, U. Ackermann-Liebrich, B. Harrison, R. Hall, D. Seaton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Several studies in European homes have described allergen levels from the house dust mite species Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus and to a lesser extent Dermatophagoides farinae, but geographic comparisons of exposure levels and risk factors have been hampered by a lack of standardized methods. Objective: To study the distribution and determinants of the major house dust mite allergens Der p 1 and Der f 1 in 10 European countries using a common protocol. Methods: During home visits with 3580 participants of the European Community Respiratory Health Survey II from 22 study centers, mattress dust was sampled and analyzed for Der p 1, Der f 1, and Der 2 allergen. Information on housing characteristics was obtained by both observations and interview. Results: Der 1 and Der 2 allergens were detectable (≥0.1 μg/g) in 68% and 53% of the samples, respectively. Large differences in allergen levels between study centers were observed, and geographic patterns for Der p 1 and Der f 1 were different. Low winter temperatures reduced Der p 1 rather than Der f 1. Important risk factors for high allergen levels included an older mattress, a lower floor level of the bedroom, limited ventilation of the bedroom, and dampness for Der p 1 but not for Der f 1. Conclusion: There are large qualitative and quantitative differences of house dust mite allergen levels in Europe, which can partly be explained by geographic and housing characteristics. Clinical implications: Mite allergen exposure may be reduced by replacing the mattress regularly and increasing ventilation of the bedroom, particularly in winter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)682-690
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2006


  • allergens
  • geographic
  • House dust mites
  • housing
  • risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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