Return to Contents in this Issue

Original Article


Mite allergen exposure, sensitisation and clinical symptoms in Valdivia, Chile


M. Calvo1, E. Fernández-Caldas2, P. Arellano3, F. Marín4, J. Carnés2, A. Hormaechea1

1 Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Austral University of Chile
2 C.B.F. LETI, S.A, Tres Cantos, Madrid, España
3 Surmedica Clinic, Valdivia, Chile
4 Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Austral University of Chile

J Invest Allergol Clin Immunol 2005; Vol. 15(3): 189-196



One hundred consecutive asthmatic paediatric patients were evaluated and skin tested with a battery of skin prick test reagents, including 8 different standardized house dust mite extracts. Asthma severity was graded according to the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) document in mild persistent (52 patients), moderate persistent (39) and severe persistent (9). Sixty patients had asthma and allergic rhinitis, 12 asthma and eczema, and 8 asthma, allergic rhinitis and eczema. The patient population was divided into 2 different socioeconomic groups (50 patients per group) based on a standardized, validated questionnaire. A dust sample was collected with an adapted vacuum cleaner from the mattress of each patient and analysed for Der p 1, Der f 1 and Der p 2 allergen content using monoclonal antibodies.
Eighty patients were skin test positive to at least one mite species. All positive skin test patients were positive to Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus, 99% to D. farinae, 92% to Euroglyphus maynei, 80% to Lepidoglyphus destructor, 73% to Tyrophagus putrescientae, 72% to Blomia tropicalis; 70% to Acarus siro and 68% to Chortoglyphus arcuatus. All patients with severe persistent asthma had a positive skin test to mites, 85% in the moderate group, and 73% in the mild group (p<0.01). 95% of patients with asthma and allergic rhinitis had a positive skin test to mites, 92% of patients with asthma and eczema and 100% of patients with asthma, allergic rhinitis and eczema; (p<0.01). Mean Der p 1, Der f 1 and Der p 2 allergen concentrations were 18.3, 0.6 and 5.6 µg/g of mattress dust, respectively. Mean Der p 1 allergen levels in the middle-low socioeconomic group were significantly higher than in the middle high group (p < 0.01).
There is a high rate of allergic sensitisation among pediatric asthmatic patients in Chile. More than one species are implicated, although sensitisation and exposure to D. pteronyssinus predominates. Mite allergic patients are exposed to high mite allergen concentrations, exceeding previously established risk levels for sensitisation and symptoms.

Key words
: asthma, mites, Dermatophagoides, allergen levels, dust sample.