Arthropod Allergens in Urban Homes
Dust mites, cockroaches, and pets (cats, dogs) are common in homes worldwide, and many species are the source of potent allergens which cause allergic diseases. These diseases are influenced by genetic predisposition and environmental exposure. Generally, the levels of house dust mite (Der p 1 and Der f 1) and cockroach (Bla g 1, Bla g 2) allergens are used as markers of indoor exposure to arthropods.
This article reviews the findings of allergens Der p 1, Der f 1, and Bla g 1 in randomly selected urban households in Zagreb (Croatia) measured from 2006 to 2010 and compares them with exposure to arthropod allergens in other countries. In short, house dust mite allergen levels in Croatian homes are low, but exposure is common; Der p 1 was found in 73 % and Der f 1 in 83 % of the households. By contrast, exposure to cockroach allergen Bla g 1 was both low and uncommon (13 %). Exposure to multiple allergens associated with sensitisation and asthma was not frequent in urban homes in Croatia. However, further studies should include monitoring of both arthropod and pet allergens in high-risk populations in inland and coastal Croatia. They should also investigate a complex dose-response relationship between exposure and sensitisation/asthma development, especially in early childhood.