Stachybotrys: relevance to human disease
Annals of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology. December, 2001; 87(6 suppl
Purpose: The author examined and critiqued the published
literature on Stachybotrys.
Outcome: The author provided a systematic review of the literature
addressing alleged Stachybotrys-induced illness. Several myths
surrounding Stachybotrys were dispelled by the author, who explained
that evidence on ingestion in animals could not be extrapolated to
possible inhalation in humans. Terr discussed the literature that has
focused on the pulmonary hemorrhage cases in Cleveland, citing two
panels commissioned by the Centers for Disease Control ("CDC") that
found serious flaws in Dearborn's original publication. Terr reiterated
several points made by the CDC panels, i.e., that there were
uncontrolled differences between the case and control homes and there
was no standardization for sampling methods. Terr also critiqued the
various articles that have sought to establish a link between potential
health problems and water intrusion. The author emphasized that several
studies have used laboratory blood tests to screen for reactions to mold
rather than testing for specific diseases in the building occupants.
This hunt for a biomarker, coupled with the poor diagnostic definition
of cases, left Terr to conclude that the evidence supporting a link
between inhalation of Stachybotrys and building-related illness is not
Significant Quotes: "However, a critical review of the current
published reports of possible human disease from inhalation of
Stachybotrys spores does not yet establish a clear-cut cause and effect
relationship to warrant the degree of concern now expressed by such
terms as 'fatal fungus.'" (p. 62).
"Published reports fail to establish inhalation of Stachybotrys spores
as a cause of human disease even in water-damaged buildings." (p. 57).
"There is no case of hypersensitivity pneumonitis caused by Stachybotrys
in the published literature." (p. 59).
Peer Review: Yes.
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