Presenter Bio: Michael Berg
Dr. Michael Berg joined Eurofins Built Environment Testing in 2005 and worked as Department Manager, Regional Director and Technical Director. He holds a Ph.D. in Biology from the Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany. Dr. Berg researched plant pathology and plant genetics as postdoctoral fellow at Oklahoma State University. He also worked in fungicide research for BASF in Germany. Dr. Berg engages in training and other educational events with focus on the topics of infection control, water risk management and molecular biology.
Dampness and mold in homes have been associated with increase of childhood wheeze and cough and other adverse health effects in susceptible individuals including but not limited to respiratory infections, asthma, allergic bronchopumonary mycosis (ABPM), allergic fungal sinusitis (AFS), and hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP). Species-specific mold antigen extracts are used in the clinical evaluation of suspected mold-related conditions, however alignment between these extracts and the species of molds in the indoor environment of water-damaged homes has not been rigorously evaluated. In this data analysis of culture samples from 2002 to 2017, we identify the predominant genera and species of mold in the air of homes with water damage, mold growth, and/or occupants with respiratory complaints (complaint homes) based on 24,455 indoor air samples from 7,547 complaint homes. We also include 29,493 outdoor air samples for comparison. The alignment of the most prominent fungal species in the dataset do not align well with mold antigen extracts used in clinical practice. Improving alignment has the potential to enhance diagnosis of mold-related diseases including allergic asthma and hypersensitivity pneumonitis and to improve patient outcomes via interventions including antigen avoidance through building remediation and occupant relocation.