The aim of the study was to describe the exposure to dog (Can f 1) and cat (Fel d 1) allergens within homes of very young children living with and without pets, and to assess the validity of the interview on pets for predicting the actual exposure to pet allergens in house dust. House dust samples were collected in 275 dwellings from the mattresses, children’s bedroom and kitchen floors. In the laboratory, dust samples were analyzed for Can f 1 and Fel d 1 using monoclonal antibody enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA). The majority of households (79.3%) had neither a dog nor a cat living in the home over the past 6 months preceding the survey. Dog allergen above 2 μg/g dust were found in 22.5% of homes and 14.2% of homes contained dog allergen above 10 μg/g of house dust. In the total study sample, cat allergen above 1 μg/g of dust were found in 12.7% of homes, and 3.3% of homes contained Fel d 1 levels greater than 8 μg/g of dust. The majority of children (75.0%) with reported ownership of dogs were exposed to Can f 1 levels above 2 μg/g of house dust, and 73.1% of children with cats at home were exposed to Fel d 1 concentrations above 1 μg/g house dust. The results of the study showed that post-test probability of the true exposure to Can f 1 above 2 μg/g dust in houses with positive interview on indoor dogs was 75.0% (95%CI: 61.7–84.8%). On the other hand, the prediction of exposure estimated from the interview data on indoor dogs produced 12.6% of false negatives (95% CI: 9.9–15.8%). Similarly, the post-test probability of the true exposure to Fel d 1 above 1 μg/g dust in houses with positive interview on indoor cats was 73.1% (95%CI: 55.1–85.7%). On the other hand, the interview data produced 6.4% false negatives (95% CI: 4.6–9.0%). In conclusion, the study demonstrated that homes in Poland with pet ownership are important reservoir of Can f 1 and Fel d 1 allergens with levels that might induce allergic symptoms. Even in homes of children without a dog or cat indoors, there was a higher prevalence of pet allergens at the levels above allergic sensitisation thresholds. This may have an important implication for epidemiologic studies on pet related allergy and prevention practice.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
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