Respiratory symptoms associated with the inhalation of Cladosporium, Alternaria and Aspergillus mold spores in Zimbabwean patients


Sibanda EN 1; Pfavayi LT 2

Author address:

1 Asthma, Allergy and Immune Dysfunction Clinic, Harare, Zimbabwe,
National Universities of Science and Technology, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
Department of Pathophysiology, Infectiology and Allergy Research, Medical University of Vienna, Austria, Harare, Zimbabwe; 2 Department of Biochemistry, University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe Asthma, Allergy and Immune Dysfunction Clinic, Harare, Harare, Zimbabwe

Full conference title:

European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology Congress 2017

Date: 20 August 2020


Introduction: The inhalation of Cladosporium, Alternaria and Aspergillus mold spores is associated with respiratory diseases. These molds elicit both IgE and IgG mediated Immune complex diseases. The symptoms closely resemble asthma and rhinitis. The geographical distribution of the molds is influenced by climatic conditions with A. alternata predominantly in humid environments, Cladosporium and a worldwide distribution Aspergillus fumigatus. There were very few reports of the prevalence, pathogenicity and symptomatology associated with these mold spores in tropical African countries.

Objectives: We investigated the frequency of mold sensitization in a cohort of 900 patients tested for the presence of allergen specific IgE antibodies and correlated these with the resultant symptomatology.

Results: There were eighty mold-sensitized patients. Their ages ranged from 4-53 years (mean 22.72 years). Their respective allergen specific IgE antibody sensitization was Alternaria alternata (9.34%), Aspergillus fumigatus (8.54%), and Cladosporium herbarum (1.8%). Other than molds, the predominant allergen sources were house dust mites (D. pter 41%, D. farinae 32%), animal hair (cat 21%, dog 17% and horse 6%), grass pollen (16%), tree pollen (10%) and mugwort pollen (7%). The symptoms were associated with rhinitis (sneezing, nasal blockage, nasal discharge, frontal/temporal headaches, anosmia), conjunctivitis and pharyngitis. Asthma related wheezing, nocturnal cough, shortness of breath were relatively infrequent. A battery of lung function tests was performed, and the average FEV1 and PEF for the group were respectively 86.65 and 79.4% of predicted values for age, BMI and ethnicity. Patients with asthma related wheezing and coughing had respective FEV1 and PEF values of 62.2% and 56.4%.

Conclusions: The results show differential sensitization to mold spores with Alternaria and Aspergillus being equally frequent and Cladosporium being rare in this African population. Sensitization affects the upper and lower respiratory tract. When there is lung inflammation, there is significant lung function compromise. Mold spore inhalation can be associated with severe pulmonary manifestations.

Abstract Number: 1629

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Link Conference abstract: 

EAACI 2017

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