The prevalence of asthma in Taiwan is one of the highest in Asia. Mold exposures have been linked to the development and exacerbation of asthma. A pilot study of mold populations in homes in Taipei, Taiwan, was conducted in the spring of 2014. Dust and air samples were collected from five homes with an asthmatic child and five from control homes. A combined, settled-dust sample was collected in the living room and bedroom in each home using a Swiffer™ cloth. The dust (5 mg) was analyzed for 36 molds using a DNA-based analysis, mold-specific quantitative PCR, and mold contamination was estimated using the Environmental Relative Moldiness Index (ERMI) metric. The ERMI values were significantly (p = 0.03) greater in the homes of asthmatic children compared to the control homes, average 26.2 versus 17.4, respectively. Aspergillusochraceus was found in significantly greater numbers in homes of asthmatic children compared to control homes. Air samples were collected in each home for 2 min (total 63 l of air) using the Burkard portable air sampler for agar plates fitted with malt extract agar plates. The plates were incubated at 25 °C for 5 days, and the resulting mold colonies were enumerated. Significantly higher total numbers of molds were cultured from the air in homes of asthmatics compared to control homes. Although this is a pilot study, it suggests that asthmatic children in Taipei, Taiwan, live in homes with significantly greater exposures to molds.
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