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Original Article


Taxis but not private cars are mite allergen reservoirs in Brazil


E. A. Taketomi1, C. M. Justino1, F. L. Pereira1, G. R. Segundo1, M. C. Sopelete1, S. J. Sung2, D. A. Silva1

1 Laboratory of Allergy and Clinical Allergy, Biomedical Sciences Institute, Federal University of Uberlandia, Uberlandia, Brazil
2 Division of Rheumatology and Immunology, Health Sciences Center, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA

J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 2006; Vol. 16(1): 34-36



Summary. Indoor allergens are major causative agents in allergic disease development. Besides homes, public transport vehicles have been considered important mite and pet allergen reservoirs. Our recent studies on allergen exposure in automobiles showed that different allergen levels are found in private cars versus taxis. We quantified group 1 Dermatophagoides spp. (Der 1), Felis domesticus (Fel d 1), and Canis familiaris (Can f 1) allergen levels by ELISA in dust samples from 60 taxi and 60 private car upholstered seats. Mean levels of Der 1 and Fel d 1 were significantly higher in taxis than private cars. A significantly higher percentage of taxis (42%) harboring sensitizing levels of Der 1 compared to private cars (5%) was also found. In spite of the low mean Fel d 1 levels, comparison of the percentage of vehicles with moderate Fel d 1 levels showed a significant difference between taxis and private cars (43% vs 20%). On the other hand, mean Can f 1 levels were significantly higher in private cars compared to taxis concomitant with a significantly higher percentage of private cars containing moderate Can f 1 levels than taxis (53% vs 28%). We conclude that upholstered seats from Brazilian taxis but not private cars constitute an important mite allergen reservoir. Thus, additional effective measures for the reduction of allergen exposure in vehicles within the global allergen avoidance strategy should also be routinely accomplished to minimize the induction of sensitization and symptoms in allergic patients.

Key words: Allergen exposure, car, mite allergen, pet allergen, taxi.