Mold Prevention Strategies and Possible Health Effects in the Aftermath of Hurricanes and Major Floods

Mold Prevention Strategies and Possible Health Effects in the Aftermath of Hurricanes and Major Floods
Click anywhere in the top portion of this page for updated/expanded articles on mold and other environmental
problem inspection, diagnosis, testing, remediation, and prevention articles online at InspectAPedia.com
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
Recommendations and Reports
June 9, 2006 / Vol. 55 / No. RR-8
Mold Prevention Strategies and Possible
Health Effects in the Aftermath of Hurricanes
and Major Floods
INSIDE: Continuing Education Examination
depar
tment of health and human ser
vices
department
services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Click anywhere in the top portion of this page for updated/expanded articles on mold and other environmental
problem inspection, diagnosis, testing, remediation, and prevention articles online at InspectAPedia.com
MMWR
CONTENTS
The MMWR series of publications is published by the Coordinating
Center for Health Information and Service, Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services, Atlanta, GA 30333.
Suggested Citation: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
[Title]. MMWR 2006;55(No. RR-#):[inclusive page numbers].
Background ......................................................................... 1
Methods .............................................................................. 2
Mold: A Definition ............................................................... 2
General Guidelines ............................................................. 4
Assessing Exposure to Mold .............................................. 4
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Julie L. Gerberding, MD, MPH
Director
Clean-up and Prevention .................................................. 6
Dixie E. Snider, MD, MPH
Chief Science Officer
Potential Health Effects of Fungal Contamination ........... 12
Tanja Popovic, MD, PhD
Associate Director for Science
for State and Local Officials ........................................ 21
Steven L. Solomon, MD
Director, Coordinating Center for Health Information and Service
Jay M. Bernhardt, PhD, MPH
Director, National Center for Health Marketing
Personal Protective Equipment .......................................... 8
Public Health Strategies and Recommendations
Acknowledgments ............................................................. 25
References ........................................................................ 25
Continuing Education Activity ......................................... CE-1
Editorial and Production Staff
Mary Lou Lindegren, MD
Editor, MMWR Series
Suzanne M. Hewitt, MPA
Managing Editor, MMWR Series
Teresa F. Rutledge
Lead Technical Writer-Editor
David C. Johnson
Project Editor
Beverly J. Holland
Lead Visual Information Specialist
Lynda G. Cupell
Malbea A. LaPete
Visual Information Specialists
Quang M. Doan, MBA
Erica R. Shaver
Information Technology Specialists
Editorial Board
William L. Roper, MD, MPH, Chapel Hill, NC, Chairman
Virginia A. Caine, MD, Indianapolis, IN
David W. Fleming, MD, Seattle, WA
William E. Halperin, MD, DrPH, MPH, Newark, NJ
Margaret A. Hamburg, MD, Washington, DC
King K. Holmes, MD, PhD, Seattle, WA
Deborah Holtzman, PhD, Atlanta, GA
John K. Iglehart, Bethesda, MD
Dennis G. Maki, MD, Madison, WI
Sue Mallonee, MPH, Oklahoma City, OK
Stanley A. Plotkin, MD, Doylestown, PA
Patricia Quinlisk, MD, MPH, Des Moines, IA
Patrick L. Remington, MD, MPH, Madison, WI
Barbara K. Rimer, DrPH, Chapel Hill, NC
John V. Rullan, MD, MPH, San Juan, PR
Anne Schuchat, MD, Atlanta, GA
John W. Ward, MD, Atlanta, GA
Disclosure of Relationship
CDC, our planners, and our content experts wish to disclose
they have no financial interests or other relationships with the
manufacturers of commercial products, suppliers of commercial
services, or commercial supporters.
Presentations will not include any discussion of unlabeled use
of a product or a product under investigational use.
Click anywhere in the top portion of this page for updated/expanded articles on mold and other environmental
problem inspection, diagnosis, testing, remediation, and prevention articles online at InspectAPedia.com
Vol. 55 / RR-8
Recommendations and Reports
1
Mold Prevention Strategies and Possible Health Effects
in the Aftermath of Hurricanes and Major Floods
Prepared by
Mary Brandt, PhD,1 Clive Brown, MBBS,2 Joe Burkhart, MS,3 Nancy Burton, MPH,3 Jean Cox-Ganser, PhD,3
Scott Damon, MAIA,2 Henry Falk, MD,4 Scott Fridkin, MD,1 Paul Garbe, DVM,2 Mike McGeehin, PhD,2
Juliette Morgan, MD,1 Elena Page MD,3 Carol Rao, ScD,1,5 Stephen Redd, MD,2 Tom Sinks, PhD,2
Douglas Trout, MD,3 Kenneth Wallingford, MS,3 David Warnock, PhD,1 David Weissman, MD3
1
National Center for Infectious Diseases
2
National Center for Environmental Health
3
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
4
Coordinating Center for Environmental Health and Injury Prevention
5
Office of Workforce and Career Development
Summary
Extensive water damage after major hurricanes and floods increases the likelihood of mold contamination in buildings. This
report provides information on how to limit exposure to mold and how to identify and prevent mold-related health effects. Where
uncertainties in scientific knowledge exist, practical applications designed to be protective of a person’s health are presented.
Evidence is included about assessing exposure, clean-up and prevention, personal protective equipment, health effects, and public
health strategies and recommendations. The recommendations assume that, in the aftermath of major hurricanes or floods,
buildings wet for >48 hours will generally support visible and extensive mold growth and should be remediated, and excessive
exposure to mold-contaminated materials can cause adverse health effects in susceptible persons regardless of the type of mold or
the extent of contamination.
For the majority of persons, undisturbed mold is not a substantial health hazard. Mold is a greater hazard for persons with
conditions such as impaired host defenses or mold allergies. To prevent exposure that could result in adverse health effects from
disturbed mold, persons should 1) avoid areas where mold contamination is obvious; 2) use environmental controls; 3) use
personal protective equipment; and 4) keep hands, skin, and clothing clean and free from mold-contaminated dust.
Clinical evaluation of suspected mold-related illness should follow conventional clinical guidelines. In addition, in the aftermath of extensive flooding, health-care providers should be watchful for unusual mold-related diseases. The development of a
public health surveillance strategy among persons repopulating areas after extensive flooding is recommended to assess potential
health effects and the effectiveness of prevention efforts. Such a surveillance program will help CDC and state and local public
health officials refine the guidelines for exposure avoidance, personal protection, and clean-up and assist health departments to
identify unrecognized hazards.
Background
On August 29 and September 24, 2005, hurricanes Katrina
and Rita, respectively, made landfall along the Gulf Coast.
After both storms, levees were breached, leading to massive
flooding in New Orleans and surrounding parishes.
The duration of flooding, the extent of flooding, and the
number of structures flooded in New Orleans as a result of
hurricanes Katrina and Rita in August and September 2005
made the likelihood of massive mold contamination a cerThe material in this report originated in the National Center for
Environmental Health, Agency for Toxic Substances Disease Registry,
Howard Franklin, MD, Director, and the Division of Environmental
Hazards and Health Effects, Michael A. McGeehin, PhD, Director.
Corresponding preparer: Clive Brown, MBBS, National Center for
Environmental Health, CDC, Century Center, Building 2400, MS E39, Atlanta, GA 30329. Telephone: 404-498-1000; Fax: 404-498-1088;
E-mail: [email protected]
tainty. Many structures remained flooded for weeks after the
hurricane and became saturated with water. An assessment of
homes in New Orleans (Orleans Parish) and the surrounding
parishes of St. Bernard, East Jefferson, and West Jefferson (excluding the 9th Ward) identified an estimated 46% (>100,000
homes) with some mold contamination; approximately 17%
(40,000 homes) had heavy mold contamination (1).
Recent parallels to the kind of flooding observed in New
Orleans as a result of hurricanes Katrina and Rita occurred in
1997 in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and in 1999 in North
Carolina after Hurricane Floyd (2). The number of structures
affected was much smaller in North Dakota than in New
Orleans, and the population affected in North Carolina was
much more dispersed than the population affected in New
Orleans. In North Carolina, a reported increase in persons
presenting with asthma symptoms was postulated to be caused
by exposure to mold (2). In 2001, flooding and subsequent
Click anywhere in the top portion of this page for updated/expanded articles on mold and other environmental
problem inspection, diagnosis, testing, remediation, and prevention articles online at InspectAPedia.com
2
MMWR
mold growth on the Turtle Mountain reservation in Belcourt,
North Dakota was associated with self-reports of rhinitis, rash,
headaches, and asthma exacerbation (3).
Methods
This document was initially prepared by CDC as a guide
for public health officials and the general public in response
to the massive flooding and the anticipated mold contamination of homes and other structures along the U.S. Gulf Coast
associated with hurricanes Katrina and Rita (4). A workgroup
was convened of CDC staff with expertise in relevant subject
areas. This included medical epidemiologists, environmental
epidemiologists and occupational epidemiologists, industrial
hygienists, infectious disease physicians and mycologists. The
framework for the document was decided by consensus discussions, and workgroup members were assigned to research
and to write different sections. The members produced individual written summaries, which formed the basis of the report. Wherever possible, recommendations were based on
existing recommendations or guidelines. Where adequate
guidelines did not exist, the guidelines were based on CDC
experience and expertise.
This revised version is intended to more broadly address
public health concerns related to limiting exposure to mold
and identifying, preventing, and managing mold-related health
effects following any natural disasters or other occurrences
that results in flooding or major water intrusion. Published
guidelines, established standards, and the peer-reviewed literature were reviewed to ensure the accuracy and consistency
of the recommendations. In addition, the document was sent
for stakeholder review and external peer review by experts in
the areas of worker protection, general public health, medical, environmental and occupational epidemiology, allergy,
industrial hygiene, mycology, and pulmonology.
Mold: A Definition
Molds, mushrooms, mildews, and yeasts are all classified as
fungi, a kingdom of organisms distinct from plants and animals. Fungi differ from plants and animals in several respects.
Unlike animals, fungi have cell walls. However, unlike plants,
which also have cell walls, fungal cell walls are made mostly
of chitin and glucan. Fungi cannot produce their own nutrients as plants do through photosynthesis. Fungi secrete enzymes that digest the material in which the fungi are imbedded
and absorb the released nutrients. Multicellular fungi do not
differentiate into different organs or functional components
the way plants and animals do (5).
June 9, 2006
Approximately 100,000 species of fungi exists; fewer than
500 fungal species have been described as human pathogens
that can cause infections (5). Visible growth of multicellular
fungi consisting of branching filamentous structures (mycelia) are known popularly as molds (5) and are referred to by
that term in this report.
Molds are ubiquitous in nature and grow almost anywhere
indoors or outdoors. The overall diversity of fungi is considerable. For example, the genus Aspergillus has at least 185
known species (6). Molds spread and reproduce by making
spores, which are small and lightweight, able to travel through
air, capable of resisting dry, adverse environmental conditions,
and capable of surviving a long time. The filamentous parts
of mold (hyphae) form a network called mycelium, which is
observed when a mold is growing on a nutrient source. Although these mycelia are usually firmly attached to whatever
the mold is growing on, they can break off, and persons can
be exposed to fungal fragments. Some micro-organisms, including molds, also produce characteristic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or microbial VOCs (mVOCs). Molds also
contain substances known as beta glucans; mVOCs and beta
glucans might be useful as markers of exposure to molds (7).
Some molds are capable of producing toxins (sometimes
called mycotoxins) under specific environmental conditions,
such as competition from other organisms or changes in the
moisture or available nutrient supply. Molds capable of producing toxins are popularly known as toxigenic molds; however, use of this term is discouraged because even molds known
to produce toxins can grow without producing them (6). Many
fungi are capable of toxin production, and different fungi
can produce the same toxin (6).
Factors That Produce Mold Growth
Although molds can be found almost anywhere, they need
moisture and nutrients to grow. The exact specifications for
optimal mold growth vary by the species of mold. However,
mold grows best in damp, warm environments. The availability of nutrients in indoor environments rarely limits mold
growth because wood, wallboard, wallpaper, upholstery, and
dust can be nutrient sources. Similarly, the temperature of
indoor environments, above freezing and below the temperature for denaturing proteins, can support mold growth, even
if the actual temperature is not optimal (8).
The primary factor that limits the growth of mold indoors
is lack of moisture. Substantial indoor mold growth is virtually synonymous with the presence of moisture inside the
building envelope. This intrusion of moisture might be from
rainwater leaking through faulty gutters or a roof in disrepair,
from a foundation leak, from condensation at an interface
(e.g., windows or pipes), or between a cold and a warm envi-
Click anywhere in the top portion of this page for updated/expanded articles on mold and other environmental
problem inspection, diagnosis, testing, remediation, and prevention articles online at InspectAPedia.com
Vol. 55 / RR-8
Recommendations and Reports
ronment. Water also can come from leaks in the plumbing or
sewage system inside the structure. Studies of mold growth
on building materials, such as plywood, have found that mold
grows on materials that remain wet for 48–72 hours (8).
Flooding, particularly when floodwaters remain for days or
weeks, provides an almost optimal opportunity for mold
growth.
How Persons Are Exposed to Mold
Mold exposure can produce disease in several ways. Inhalation is usually presumed to be the most important mechanism of exposure to viable (live) or nonviable (dead) fungi,
fungal fragments or components, and other dampness-related
microbial agents in indoor environments. The majority of
fungal spores have aerodynamic diameters of 2–10 µm, which
are in the size range that allow particles to be deposited in the
upper and lower respiratory tract (5). Inhalation exposure to
a fungal spore requires that the spore be initially aerosolized
at the site of growth. Aerosolization can happen in many ways,
ranging from disturbance of contaminated materials by human activity to dispersal of fungi from contaminated surfaces
in heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems.
Fungal spores also can be transported indoors from outdoors.
Overall, the process of fungal-spore aerosolization and related
issues (e.g., transport, deposition, resuspension, and tracking
of fungi to other areas) are poorly understood.
Persons can be exposed to mold through skin contact, inhalation, or ingestion. Because of the ubiquity of mold in the
environment, some level of exposure is inevitable. Persons can
be exposed to mold through contact with airborne spores or
through contact with mycelial fragments. Exposure to high
airborne concentrations of mold spores could occur when
persons come into contact with a large mass of mold, such as
might occur in a building that has been flooded for a long
time. Exposure to mycelia fragments could occur when a person encounters a nutrient source for mold that has become
disrupted, such as would occur during removal of mold-contaminated building material. Skin contact or exposure by inhalation to either spores or mycelial fragments also could occur
in a dusty environment, if the components of dust include
these fungal elements.
For the majority of adverse health outcomes related to mold
exposure, a higher level of exposure to living molds or a higher
concentration of allergens on spores and mycelia results in a
greater likelihood of illness. However, no standardized method
exists to measure the magnitude of exposure to molds. In addition, data are limited about the relation between the level
of exposure to mold and how that causes adverse health effects and how this relation is affected by the interaction between molds and other microorganisms and chemicals in the
3
environment. For this reason, it is not possible to sample an
environment, measure the mold level in that sample, and make
a determination as to whether the level is low enough to be
safe or high enough to be associated with adverse health effects.
Persons affected by major hurricanes or floods probably will
have exposure to a wide variety of hazardous substances distributed by or contained within the floodwater. This report
does not provide a comprehensive discussion of all such potential hazards; such situations will of necessity require case
by case evaluation and assessment. Guidance has been provided by CDC for such issues in a number of documents,
including NIOSH Hazard Based Interim Guidelines: Protective Equipment for Workers in Hurricane Flood Response
(9) and the CDC guidance: Protect Yourself From Chemicals
Released During a Natural Disaster (10).
Factors That Cause Disease from Mold
Numerous species of mold cause infection through respiratory exposure. In general, persons who are immunosuppressed
are at increased risk for infection from mold (11). Immunosuppression can result from immunosuppressive medication,
from medical conditions and diseases that cause immunosuppression, or from therapy for cancer that causes transient
immunosuppression. Although certain species of mold cause
infection (5,8,11), many mold species do not cause infection.
Infections from mold might be localized to a specific organ
or disseminated throughout the body.
Many of the major noninfectious health effects of mold
exposure have an immunologic (i.e., allergic) basis (6). Exposure to mold can sensitize persons, who then might experience symptoms when re-exposed to the same mold species.
For sensitized persons, hay fever symptoms and asthma exacerbations are prominent manifestations of mold allergy (6).
Although different mold species might have different propensities to cause allergy, available data do not permit a relative ranking of species by risk for creating or exacerbating
allergy. In addition, exposure to beta glucans might have an
inflammatory effect in the respiratory system (12).
Prolonged exposure to high levels of mold (and some bacterial species) can produce an immune-mediated disease
known as hypersensitivity pneumonitis (13). Clinically, hypersensitivity pneumonitis is known by the variety of exposures that can cause this disorder (e.g., farmer’s lung,
woodworker’s lung, and malt worker’s lung).
Ingesting toxins that molds produce can cause disease.
Longterm ingestion of aflatoxins (produced by Aspergillus
species) has been associated with hepatocellular cancer (14).
In addition, ingestion of high doses of aflatoxin in contaminated food causes aflatoxicosis and can result in hepatic fail-
Click anywhere in the top portion of this page for updated/expanded articles on mold and other environmental
problem inspection, diagnosis, testing, remediation, and prevention articles online at InspectAPedia.com
4
MMWR
ure (11). Whether concentrations of airborne mold toxins
are high enough to cause human disease through inhalation
is unknown, and no health effects from airborne exposure to
mold-related toxins are proven.
General Guidelines
Assessing Exposure to Mold
Exposure Assessment
Any structure flooded after hurricanes or major floods
should be presumed to contain materials contaminated with
mold if those materials were not thoroughly dried within 48
hours (15,16). In such cases, immediate steps to reduce the
risk for exposure to mold are likely to be of greater importance than further exposure assessment steps presented below.
Assessing the level of human exposure to mold in flooded
buildings where mold contamination is not obvious is often a
central and ongoing activity in recovery related to hurricanes
and floods. Understanding the strengths and limitations of
the approaches that are available to assess such exposures is
important. Buildings that were not flooded could also have
mold. For example, buildings with leaking roofs or pipes,
which allows water to penetrate into biodegradable building
materials, or excessive humidity, particularly buildings built with
biodegradable materials, are susceptible to mold growth (2).
Visual Inspection and Moisture Assessment
A visual inspection is the most important step in identifying possible mold contamination (17,18). The extent of any
water damage and mold growth should be visually assessed.
This assessment is particularly important in determining remedial strategies and the need for personal protective equipment (PPE) for persons in the contaminated area. Ceiling
tiles, gypsum wallboard (sheetrockTM), cardboard, paper, and
other cellulosic surfaces should be given careful attention
during a visual inspection. Not all mold contamination is
visible (9,16); with a flood, contamination in the interior wall
cavities or ceiling is common. A common means of assessing
the mold contamination of a building is to estimate the total
square feet of contaminated building materials (9,18,19).
However, professional judgment will necessarily play an important role in the visual inspection because less quantifiable
factors (e.g., location of the mold, building use, and function) and exposure pathways are also important in assessing
potential human exposure and health risks.
Ventilation systems also should be visually checked, particularly for damp filters, damp conditions elsewhere in the
system, and overall cleanliness. To avoid spreading microor-
June 9, 2006
ganisms throughout the building, HVAC systems known or
suspected to be contaminated with mold should not be run.
Guidelines from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) and CDC (20,21) provide useful information concerning this topic. Different algorithms for assessing and
remediating mold-contaminated buildings are available. Examples of such algorithms are available from the U.S. Army
(22), the New York City Department of Health (18), and
OSHA (23).
Moisture meters provide qualitative moisture levels in building materials and might be helpful for measuring the moisture content in a variety of building materials (e.g., carpet,
wallboard, wood, brick, and concrete) following water damage (9,17). Meters also can be used to monitor progress in
drying wet materials. Damaged materials should be removed
and discarded. Moisture meters are available from contractor
tool and supply outlets. Humidity meters can be used to
monitor indoor humidity. Inexpensive (<$50) models that
monitor both temperature and humidity are available.
A borescope is a hand-held tool that allows users to see hidden mold problems inside walls, ceiling plenums, crawl spaces,
and other tight areas (6,18). No major drilling or cutting of
dry wall is required.
Sampling for Mold
Sampling for mold is not part of a routine building assessment (9,16,18,19). In most cases, appropriate decisions about
remediation and the need for PPE can be made solely on the
basis of visual inspection. If visible mold is present, then it
should be remediated regardless of what types of microorganisms are present, what species of mold is present, and whether
samples are taken. Other than in a controlled, limited, research setting, sampling for biologic agents in the
environment cannot be meaningfully interpreted and would
not substantially affect relevant decisions about remediation,
reoccupancy, handling or disposal of waste and debris, worker
protection or safety, or public health. If sampling is being
considered, a clear purpose should exist. For example:
• To help evaluate a source of mold contamination. For
example, testing the types of mold and mold concentrations indoors versus outdoors can be used to identify an
indoor source of mold contamination that might not be
obvious on visual inspection.
• To help guide mold remediation. For example, if mold is
being removed and it is unclear how far the colonization
extends, then surface or bulk sampling in combination
with moisture readings might be useful.
Types of Samples. Types of samples used to assess the presence of mold and the potential for human exposure to mold
in a water-damaged building include air samples, surface
Click anywhere in the top portion of this page for updated/expanded articles on mold and other environmental
problem inspection, diagnosis, testing, remediation, and prevention articles online at InspectAPedia.com
Vol. 55 / RR-8
Recommendations and Reports
samples, bulk samples, and water samples from condensate
drain pans or cooling towers. Detailed descriptions of sampling and analysis techniques have been published (6,17).
Among the types of samples, airborne sampling might be a
good indicator of exposure from a theoretical point of view,
particularly for assessing acute short-term exposures. However, in practice, many problems (e.g., detection problems
and high variability over time) limit the usefulness of these
types of samples for most biologic agents. If air sampling is
conducted, personal measurements best represent the current
exposure, although practical constraints might make personal
sampling difficult. Therefore, area sampling is the most commonly performed type of air sampling used to assess bioaerosol
exposure despite resultant uncertainty about how accurately
the measurements reflect actual personal exposure.
One type of surface sampling is the sampling of settled dust.
A theoretical advantage of settled-dust sampling is the presumed correlation of concentrations of fungi in the settled
dust with chronic exposure to those fungi (17). However,
surface sampling is a crude measure and will yield a poor
surrogate for airborne concentrations (6,17). Results of surface sampling as a measure of exposure should be interpreted
with caution. Bulk samples can provide information about
possible sources of biologic agents in buildings and the general composition and relative concentrations of those biologic
agents.
Assessment of Microorganisms. Two distinct approaches
are used for evaluation of the presence of specific microbes:
culture-based and nonculture-based. The strengths and limitations of the different approaches have been published (6).
Instead of measuring culturable or nonculturable fungi or
fungal components, constituents or metabolites of microorganisms can be measured as a surrogate of microbial exposure. Examples of such techniques include polymerase chain
reaction (PCR) technologies and immunoassays (6,17). Methods for measuring microbial constituents (with some exceptions) are in an experimental phase and have not yet been
routinely applied in clinical assessments, risk assessments, or
epidemiologic studies.
No health-based standards (e.g., OSHA or EPA standards)
or exposure limits (e.g., NIOSH recommended exposure limits) for indoor biologic agents (airborne concentrations of
mold or mold spores) exist. Differences in season; climatic
and meteorological conditions; type, construction, age, and
use of the building and ventilation systems; and differences
in measurement protocols used in various studies (e.g., viable
versus nonviable microorganism sampling, sampler type, and
analysis) make it difficult to interpret sampling data relative
to information from the medical literature (6,17). If sampling
is performed, exposure data can be evaluated (either quanti-
5
tatively or qualitatively) by comparing exposure data with
background data, indoor environments with outdoor environments, or problem areas with nonproblem areas. A quantitative evaluation involves comparing exposures, whereas a
qualitative evaluation could involve comparing species or genera of microorganisms in different environments. Specifically,
in buildings without mold problems, the qualitative diversity
of airborne fungi indoors and outdoors should be similar.
Conversely, the dominating presence of one or two kinds of
fungi indoors and the absence of the same kind outdoors might
indicate a moisture problem and degraded air quality. In addition, the consistent presence of fungi such as Stachybotrys
chartarum, Aspergillus versicolor or various Penicillium species
over and beyond background concentrations might indicate
a moisture problem that should be addressed (17). Indoor
and outdoor mold types should be similar, and indoor levels
should be no greater than levels outdoors or in noncomplaint
areas (17). Analytical results from bulk material or dust samples
also might be compared with results of similar samples collected from reasonable comparison areas.
Other Issues
Biomarkers
For biologic agents, few biomarkers of exposure or dose
have been identified, and their validity for exposure assessment in the indoor environment is often unknown. Testing
to determine the presence of immunoglobulin E (IgE) to specific fungi might be a useful component of a complete clinical evaluation in the diagnosis of illnesses (e.g., rhinitis and
asthma) that can be caused by immediate hypersensitivity
(17,24). Testing is usually done by in vitro tests for serum
specific IgE, or by skin prick or puncture tests. Detection of
immunoglobulin G (IgG) to specific fungi has been used as a
marker of exposure to agents that might cause illnesses such
as hypersensitivity pneumonitis (17,24). However, the ubiquitous nature of many fungi and the lack of specificity of
fungal antigens limit the usefulness of these types of tests in
evaluating possible building-related illness and fungal exposure (17,24). Specific serologic tests (e.g., tests for cryptococcal antigen, coccidioidal antibody, and Histoplasma antigen)
are useful in the diagnosis of some fungal infections, but these
are the exception. The routine clinical use of immunoassays
as a primary means of assessing environmental fungal exposure or health effects related to fungal exposure is not recommended. Health-care providers whose patients express concern
about the relation between symptoms and possible exposure
to fungi are advised to use immunoassay results with care and
only in combination with other clinical information, including history, physical findings, and other laboratory results (24).
Click anywhere in the top portion of this page for updated/expanded articles on mold and other environmental
problem inspection, diagnosis, testing, remediation, and prevention articles online at InspectAPedia.com
6
MMWR
Mycotoxins
In recent years, increased concern has arisen about exposure to specific molds that produce substances called mycotoxins. Health effects related to mycotoxins are generally
related to ingestion of large quantities of fungal-contaminated
material (17). No conclusive evidence exists of a link between
indoor exposure to airborne mycotoxin and human illness
(6,25). Many molds can potentially produce toxins given the
right conditions (6,11,17). Some molds that produce mycotoxins are commonly found in moisture-damaged buildings;
research related to the importance of these findings is ongoing. Although the potential for health problems is an important reason to prevent or minimize indoor mold growth and
to remediate any indoor mold contamination, evidence is inadequate to support recommendations for greater urgency of
remediation in cases where mycotoxin-producing fungi have
been isolated.
Summary
The interpretation of environmental sampling data generally requires professional judgment, and medical conclusions
cannot be made based solely on the results of analysis of environmental sampling. In the context of mold growth following a major hurricane or flood, mold growth itself and the
extent of growth based on a thorough visual inspection is sufficient to categorize a building as moldy or not moldy. This
should provide sufficient information for action and no additional characterization is needed.
Clean-up and Prevention
The most effective way to eliminate mold growth is to remove it from materials that can be cleaned and to discard
materials that cannot be cleaned or are physically damaged
beyond use (9,18,19,26–30). Persons with respiratory conditions, allergies, asthma, or weakened immune systems should
avoid mold cleanup if possible or seek the advice of their doctor and determine what type of personal protective equipment is appropriate. Appropriate PPE (e.g., tight-fitting
NIOSH-approved N-95 respirator, gloves to limit contact of
mold and cleaning solutions with skin, and goggles) (13,26–
30) should be used when performing clean-up or other activities in mold-contaminated homes or buildings after a flood.
Clean-up
Removing mold problems requires a series of actions
(6,9,16). The order of these actions is sometimes important
(6), but might vary on a case-by-case basis. Typically, the following actions are taken regardless of whether a problem is
small and simple or large and complex:
June 9, 2006
• Take emergency action to stop water intrusion, if needed.
• Determine the extent of water damage and mold contamination.
• Plan and implement remediation activities.
— If needed, establish containment and protection for
workers and occupants.
— Eliminate or limit water or moisture sources.
— Decontaminate or remove damaged materials, as appropriate.
— Dry any wet materials, if possible.
— Evaluate whether space has been successfully
remediated.
— Reassemble the space to prevent or limit possibility of
recurrence by controlling sources of moisture.
For small, simple problems, the entire list of tasks can be
done by one person. Large, complex problems might require
many persons from different professions and trades. For circumstances that fall between those extremes, some combination of occupant action and professional intervention will be
appropriate. In general, no single discipline brings together
all the required knowledge for successful assessment and
remediation.
Returning to Mold-Contaminated Homes
or Buildings After a Flood
When persons return to homes or buildings after a flood,
they should take the following steps (6,9,16,26–30):
• Clean up and dry out the building quickly. Open doors
and windows and use fans or dehumidifiers to dry out
the building.
• Remove all porous items that have been wet for >48 hours
and that cannot be thoroughly cleaned and dried. These
items can remain a source of mold growth and should be
removed from the home or building. Porous, noncleanable
items include carpeting and carpet padding, upholstery,
wallpaper, drywall, ceiling tiles, insulation material, some
clothing, leather, paper, some wood and wood products,
and food. Removal and cleaning are important because
even dead mold can cause allergic reactions.
• Clean wet items and surfaces with detergent and water to
prevent mold growth.
• Temporarily store damaged or discarded items outside
the home or building until insurance claims can be
processed.
Removing and Cleaning Up Mold in a
Building
For cleaning mold covering <10 square feet in an area
flooded by clean water, detergent and water might be adequate
(9,16). However after hurricanes and major floods, flood water
Click anywhere in the top portion of this page for updated/expanded articles on mold and other environmental
problem inspection, diagnosis, testing, remediation, and prevention articles online at InspectAPedia.com
Vol. 55 / RR-8
Recommendations and Reports
is likely to be contaminated and, in this setting, mold can be
removed with a bleach solution of 1 cup chlorine bleach per
1 gallon of water (26–30). Never mix bleach or bleach-containing products with ammonia or ammonia-containing products. If water damage is substantial or mold growth covers
>10 square feet, consult the EPA guide, Mold Remediation in
Schools and Commercial Buildings (15).
Some companies specialize in water damage restoration and
can assess the issues involved in cleaning up homes after a
flood. Two professional trade groups that might be able to
help locate such an expert are the Association of Specialists in
Cleaning and Restoration (http://www.ascr.org) and the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification
(http://www.iicrc.org).
Contractors used for remediation should have experience
in cleaning mold. Check references and ask the contractor to
follow the recommendations in the guidelines of the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists
(ACGIH) or other guidelines from professional organizations
or state agencies. Contact your state health department’s
website for information about state licensing requirements
for contractors in your state. Examples of websites from states
that have recently dealt with natural disasters include http://
www.tdh.state.tx.us/beh/mold (Texas) and http://
www.lslbc.louisiana.gov (Louisiana).
Cleaning Clothes, Textiles, or Stuffed Animals
Ensure that laundry is washed in safe water. Use only water
that is properly disinfected or that the authorities have stated
is safe. Take the appropriate steps to make sure that use of gas
or electric appliances is safe.
Before using a washing machine that was in a flooded building, run the machine through one full cycle before washing
clothes. Use hot water and a disinfectant or sanitizer. Take
clothes and linens outdoors and shake off any dried mud or
dirt before washing them. Hose off muddy items to remove
all dirt before putting them in the washer.
If the items are only wet, they can be laundered normally.
Check the labels on clothes and linens and wash them in detergent and warm water if possible, or take them to a professional cleaner. Adding chlorine bleach to the wash cycle will
remove most mildew and will sanitize the clothing. However,
bleach might fade some fabrics and damage other fabrics. If
the label reads “dry clean only,” shake out loose dirt and take
the item to a professional cleaner.
Consult a remediation professional for advice on whether
heavily mold-contaminated items made of leather, suede, or a
similar material are salvageable or should be discarded. Do
not burn or bury textiles that cannot be cleaned. Put them
7
into properly sealed plastic bags and dispose of them as you
would normal household garbage in your area.
Salvaging Household Items
When assessing or remediating mold contamination to a
house, homeowners or clean-up personnel might decide to
repair or clean household items (e.g., housewares or kitchen
items) damaged or contaminated by flood waters. As with
clothing and other textiles, make sure the water being used is
safe. Use only water that is properly disinfected or that the
authorities have stated is safe.
Nonporous items (e.g., dishes, pots, glass items, and hard
plastic items) can be salvaged. However, because floodwaters
are contaminated, nonporous items should be washed by hand
in a disinfectant and then air-dried. Do not use a dish towel.
Porous items (e.g., cloth, some wood and wood products,
and soft plastic) must be discarded because they probably
absorbed whatever contaminants were in the floodwaters.
Before using the dishwasher, clean and disinfect it. Then
use a hot setting to wash your pots, pans, dishes, and utensils.
Do not use the energy-saving setting. Throw away canned
foods that are bulging, opened, or damaged. Food containers
with screw-caps, snap-lids, crimped caps (soda pop bottles),
twist caps, flip tops, snap-open, and home-canned foods
should be discarded if they have come into contact with floodwater because they cannot be disinfected. If intact cans have
come in contact with floodwater or storm water, remove the
labels, wash the cans, and dip them in a solution of 1 cup of
bleach in 5 gallons of water. Relabel the cans with a marker.
Cleaning a Heating, Ventilating, and Air
Conditioning System
All surfaces of an HVAC system and all its components
that were submerged during a flood are potential reservoirs
for dirt, debris, and microorganisms, including bacteria and
mold. In addition, moisture can collect in areas of HVAC
system components that were not submerged (e.g., air supply
ducts above the water line), and this also can lead to the growth
of microorganisms. Therefore, all flood water-contaminated
and moisture-laden components of the HVAC system should
be thoroughly inspected, cleaned of dirt and debris, and disinfected by a qualified professional. CDC has prepared recommendations for professionals to help ensure that
floodwater-contaminated HVAC system components are
properly cleaned and remediated (21). If HVAC systems are
not properly cleaned and disinfected to prevent the dissemination of mold and other debris throughout a building,
bioaerosols of mold and other microorganisms might exists
and can cause a variety of adverse health effects to the building’s
Click anywhere in the top portion of this page for updated/expanded articles on mold and other environmental
problem inspection, diagnosis, testing, remediation, and prevention articles online at InspectAPedia.com
8
MMWR
occupants. Ensure that the HVAC system is shut down before any remedial activities.
Prevention After the Flood
Limited scientific information exists on the efficacy and
impact of prevention strategies. In addition, little of the practical knowledge acquired and applied by design, construction, and maintenance professionals has been subject to
thorough validation (6). No generally accepted health-based
standards exist for remediation (6).
If property owners decide to make extensive repairs or completely rebuild after a flood, they might consider designing
and building in a way that will limit the potential for future
mold growth (6,30). The key to prevention of mold is to eliminate or limit the conditions that foster microbial growth by
limiting water intrusion and the nutrients that allow mold to
grow (6,9,16,30). The two basic approaches are to keep moisture-sensitive materials dry and to use materials that are not
easily biodegradable or which offer a poor substrate for mold
growth.
Personal Protective Equipment
Workers and their employers might be required to wear or
provide protection to minimize exposure to mold. Workers
and employers should refer to pertinent OSHA standards and
NIOSH guidelines. Information also is provided for the
public.
Minimizing exposure to mold involves using PPE and administrative and engineering controls (6,17,18,31,32). Administrative controls include identifying mold-contaminated
areas promptly, restricting access to these areas, and minimizing aerosol generating activities (e.g., by suppressing dust)
(3,6,18,27,29,32). Engineering controls include ventilating
mold-contaminated areas adequately and using heavy equipment with sealed positive pressure, air-conditioned cabs that
contain filtered air recirculation units to protect the workers
(6,17,18,31,32). Misting contaminated materials with water
is a control measure used to reduce dust levels during debris
removal.
Workers should wear PPE regardless of the engineering controls used, especially for skin and eye protection
(1,9,17,18,32). Primary functions of PPE in a moldcontaminated environment are prevention of the inhalation
and ingestion of mold and mold spores and prevention of
mold contact with skin or eyes (1,32). PPE requirements for
workers are likely to differ from the PPE recommendations
for homeowners or other building occupants who are less likely
to disturb and aerosolize contaminated materials. In addition, PPE recommendations for persons with underlying ill-
June 9, 2006
ness or compromised immune systems will differ from PPE
recommendations for healthy persons. Proper training or instruction in the use of protective equipment is essential for
effective use. Guidelines for protection of and training recommendation for workers have been published (33).
Types of Personal Protective Equipment
Skin and Eye Protection
Gloves keep the hands clean and free from contact with
mold (9,29). Gloves also protect hands from potentially irritating cleaning solutions (29,32,33). Long gloves that extend
to the middle of the forearm are recommended. The glove
material should be selected on the basis of the type of substance or chemical being handled. When using a biocide (e.g.,
chlorine bleach) or a strong cleaning solution, gloves made
from natural rubber, neoprene, nitrile, polyurethane, or PVC
are needed. When using a mild detergent or plain water, ordinary household rubber gloves can be used. Latex or nonlatex
medical examination gloves should be used if hands are likely
to be in contact with infectious materials. Persons with natural rubber latex allergy should not use natural rubber latex
gloves and should consult the NIOSH Alert on latex gloves
for further information (34).
To protect eyes, properly fitted goggles or a full face-piece
respirator are needed. Goggles must be designed to prevent
the entry of dust and small particles. Safety glasses or goggles
with open vent holes are not appropriate in mold remediation.
CDC has published guidelines on this topic (35).
Protective Clothing
When conducting building inspections and remediation
work, workers or homeowners might encounter hazardous
biologic agents and chemical and physical hazards. Consequently, appropriate personal protective clothing, either reusable or disposable, is recommended to minimize
cross-contamination between work areas and clean areas, to
prevent the transfer and spread of mold and other contaminants to street clothing, and to eliminate skin contact with
mold or chemicals (9,32). In hot environments, precautions
to prevent dehydration and heat stress when wearing protective clothing (e.g., drink plenty of water) are needed.
Disposable PPE should be discarded after it is used. Such
equipment should be placed into impermeable bags and usually can be discarded as ordinary construction waste. Protective equipment for biocide applicators (e.g., goggles or face
shield, aprons or other protective clothing, gloves, and respiratory protection) must be selected on the basis of the product manufacturer’s warnings and recommendations. In
addition, the manufacturer’s recommended precautions should
Click anywhere in the top portion of this page for updated/expanded articles on mold and other environmental
problem inspection, diagnosis, testing, remediation, and prevention articles online at InspectAPedia.com
Vol. 55 / RR-8
Recommendations and Reports
9
be followed. Reusable protective clothing, including respiratory equipment (36,37), should be cleaned according to manufacturers’ recommendations for PPE exposed to mold and
other potentially hazardous chemicals (e.g., bleach and
biocides).
tection) for outdoor workers requires ongoing professional
assessment that considers the potential for exposure to mold
and the potential for exposure to other hazardous substances
that might be in the outdoor work area.
Respiratory Protection
Guidelines summarized below are based on guidelines from
OSHA (37,42,43), EPA (13), and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (18). These guidelines recommend particular respirators on the basis of the size
of the area of mold contamination. However, the size criteria
are based on general professional judgment and practicality
because data are limited related to the extent of contamination to the frequency or severity of health effects.
When determining the potential for airborne exposure to
mold and the need for PPE, the size of the area is not the only
criterion to be considered. The activities being performed in
relation to the mold-contaminated materials are at least as
important. Therefore, ongoing professional judgment always
must play a part in decisions concerning PPE. For example,
any remediation or other work that disturbs mold and causes
mold spores to become airborne increases the degree of respiratory exposure. Actions that tend to disperse mold include
breaking apart moldy porous materials such as wallboard;
destructive invasive procedures to examine or remediate mold
growth in a wall cavity; removal of contaminated wallpaper
by stripping or peeling; and using fans to dry items or ventilate areas. In addition, health status and other characteristics
of the persons potentially exposed to mold also might need to
be considered (Table 1).
Inhalation is the primary exposure route of concern related
to mold for workers, homeowners, and building occupants
(6,9,17,18). When administrative and engineering controls
are not adequate to eliminate airborne exposure to mold (or
dust containing mold), respirators provide additional protection from inhalation of airborne mold, contaminated dust,
and other particulates that are released during dust-generating processes (e.g., remediation work or debris removal)
(6,9,17).
Respirators provide varying levels of protection. Selecting a
respirator to minimize exposure to molds should be based on
a qualitative assessment because quantitative data on moldcontaminated environments are not informative (38–41). All
decisions about respirator selection should be made with
knowledge of the relative protective capabilities and the advantages and disadvantages of different respirators. Further
discussion of respirator selection is available (38–41).
Standard surgical or dust masks are intended for use only
as barriers against large particles and do not provide protection against many airborne particles (38). Respirators used to
protect persons from airborne contaminants (including mold
and mold spores) must be certified by CDC’s NIOSH. In
addition, as specified by the OSHA respiratory protection
standard (37), workers whose employers require them to use
respirators must be properly trained, have medical clearance,
and be properly fit-tested before they use the respirator. If a
worker must use respirators, the worker’s employer must develop and implement a written respiratory protection program with worksite-specific procedures and elements.
Additional information on respiratory protection is available
from OSHA (37,42,43).
PPE Guidelines for Workers in MoldContaminated Areas
Outdoors
Exposure to some level of airborne mold is inevitable because molds are found indoors and outdoors (6,17). However, demolishing or cleaning heavily mold-contaminated
materials outdoors can lead to excessive exposure to mold.
The level of exposure to mold outdoors is primarily based on
the amount of mold-contaminated material, the amount of
mold in the material, and the type of work being performed.
The need for PPE (including respiratory, skin, and eye pro-
Indoors
Category I Protection
• Respiratory protection (e.g., N-95 disposable respirator).
Respirators must be used in accordance with the OSHA
respiratory protection standard (9,37).
• Gloves and eye protection.
For use while cleaning the following:
• Small isolated areas (<10 square feet) of heating, ventilation, and HVAC systems (includes pipes, ducts, and
vents).
• Isolated areas (<100 square feet) of building materials (e.g.,
ceiling tiles, small areas on walls, and individual or multiple wallboard panels).
Category II Protection
• Respiratory protection with full face-piece respirators,
with N100, R100, P100 (or for powered air purifying
respirators, HEPA) particulate filters. Respirators must
be used in accordance with the OSHA respiratory protection standard (13).
Click anywhere in the top portion of this page for updated/expanded articles on mold and other environmental
problem inspection, diagnosis, testing, remediation, and prevention articles online at InspectAPedia.com
10
MMWR
June 9, 2006
TABLE 1. Population-specific recommendations for protection from exposure to mold in buildings after hurricanes and major
floods,* by specific activity† and risk factor
Exposure activity
Risk Factor
None
Inspecting or
assessing
damage
(disturbs little
dust or mold)
Observing from
outside the
demolition area
(disturbs no dust)
No special precautions
needed
No special precautions
needed
Recovering
moldy personal
belongings
(disturbs some
dust or mold)
Sweeping, light
cleaning,
removing mold
(disturbs much
dust or mold)
Using power
tools, cleaning,
demolishing
(disturbs all
dust and mold)
Respiratory protection
RP, GDP, and
(RP)§ and gloves and
occlusive eye
dermal protection (GDP) protection (OEP)¶
RP, GDP, and OEP
Persons at high risk for infection or colonization
Profound immunosuppresssion**
Avoid exposure
Avoid exposure
Avoid exposure
Avoid exposure
Avoid exposure
Immunosuppression††
RP
RP, GDP, and OEP
Avoid exposure
Avoid exposure
Avoid exposure
Obstructive or cavitary
lung disease§§
RP
RP
RP and GDP
RP, GDP, and OEP
Avoid exposure
Persons who have diseases with immune sensitization¶¶
Allergic
rhinoconjunctivitis
(exacerbated by
moldy materials)
RP
RP
RP, GDP, and OEP
RP, GDP, and OEP
Avoid exposure
Asthma (exacerbated
by moldy materials)
RP
RP
RP, GDP, and OEP
Avoid exposure
Avoid exposure
Hypersensitivity
pneumonitis caused
by moldy materials
RP
RP
RP, GDP, and OEP
Avoid exposure
Avoid exposure
Persons with unknown risk***
Aged <12 years†††
Consult health-care
provider
Consult health-care
provider
Consult health-care
provider
Consult health-care
provider
Consult health-care
provider
Pregnant
RP
RP
RP, GDP, and OEP
Avoid exposure
Avoid exposure
Aged >65 years
RP
RP
RP, GDP, and OEP
Avoid exposure
Avoid exposure
* Extensive mold contamination is assumed if the building’s interior was saturated with water for >48 hours, extensive water damage is present,
extensive mold growth is visible, or “mildew” odors are clearly stronger than before hurricanes.
† A visible dust cloud suggests high potential for exposure. However, activities can be associated with high fungal exposure even without visible dust.
Consider more protective interventions for activities of longer duration or greater frequency.
§ Recommended respiratory protection for residents is a respirator at least as protective as an N-95 filtering face piece. Respirator protection for workers
in isolated areas of mold contamination (<100 square feet) or small isolated areas of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems (<10
square feet) where mold is disturbed is a respirator at least as protective as an N-95 filtering face piece. For working in areas of extensive contamination (>100 contiguous square feet) or HVAC systems with large areas of contamination (>10 square feet) and substantial mold-containing dust, full
face-piece respirators with N100, R100, P100 particulate filters (or for powered air-purifying respirators, HEPA filters) are recommended.
¶ Occlusive eye protection includes safety goggles, not regular eyeglasses.
** Transplant recipients, including organ or hematopoietic stem cell recipients within 6 months of transplant or during periods of substantial immunosuppression; neutropenia (neutrophil count <500/µL) associated with any cause (including neoplasm, cancer chemotherapy); CD4+ lymphopenia (lymphocyte count <200/µL) associated with any cause, including HIV infection. Affected persons should consult with their physicians before entering the
affected area.
†† Includes immunosuppressant drug therapy (e.g., cancer chemotherapy, corticosteroid, or other immunosuppressive drug therapy), and diseases
impairing host defense such as leukemia or lymphoma. Affected persons should consult with their physicians before entering the affected area.
Duration and frequency of exposures should be minimal.
§§ Such diseases include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma not exacerbated by mold, cystic fibrosis, and cavitary tuberculosis. Risk for
airway colonization and subsequent diseases following mold exposure is unknown. Recommendations are based on best professional judgment.
¶¶ The optimal treatment for allergic rhinitis, allergic asthma, or hypersensitivity pneumonitis is avoidance of the sensitizing agent. If symptoms occur
despite the recommended preventive measures, avoidance of exposure is indicated. In many cases, allergic etiology of rhinitis or asthma needs to be
inferred from clinical information, since the available diagnostic reagents for documenting IgE-sensitization to fungi are mostly unstandardized.
Similarly, the precise antigenic agent causing hypersensitivity pneumonitis is often unclear.
*** The level of risk associated with exposure activities and the potential benefit of recommended personal protective equipment are unknown for these
vulnerable populations.
††† Exposure-reducing behavior and respiratory protection can be difficult to achieve in children aged <12 years. Infants should avoid exposure at all
activity levels.
Click anywhere in the top portion of this page for updated/expanded articles on mold and other environmental
problem inspection, diagnosis, testing, remediation, and prevention articles online at InspectAPedia.com
Vol. 55 / RR-8
Recommendations and Reports
• Disposable protective clothing covering entire body including both head and shoes.
• Gloves.
For use while cleaning the following:
• Large contaminated areas (>10 square feet) of HVAC systems.
• Extensively contaminated (>100 contiguous square feet)
building materials.
• Any size area where substantial dust is generated during
cleaning or debris removal (e.g., when abrasives must be
used to clean contaminated surfaces or plaster walls are
being demolished).
• Areas where the visible concentration of mold is heavy
(blanket coverage rather than patchy).
These guidelines should be followed according to professional judgment. For example, more protective respirators
might be required if toxic contaminants such as asbestos or
lead are encountered during cleanup. All workers dealing with
large areas of contamination should be properly trained to
handle hazardous materials.
PPE Guidelines for the Public (Nonworkers) in
Residences and Nonoccupational Settings
Clean-up, Debris Removal, or Similar Activities
The activities (and possible exposure to mold) of persons
re-entering their homes or working outside might be similar
to those of workers. Preventing the creation of dust and limiting exposure to dust are the best ways to minimize exposure
to mold (1,9,18). For example, using wet mops or vacuums
with HEPA filters instead of dry sweeping dust and debris
will decrease the amount of dust in the air (1,9,18).
If building occupants, residents, or anyone must be around
mold-contaminated dust, respirators will offer some protection. Particulate respirators (such as NIOSH-certified N-95
respirators) can be purchased in safety supply stores and in
most home improvement stores. Several factors are required
for respirators to provide protection from inhalation hazards
(15,38,41,43):
• The respirator must fit well and be worn correctly. The
manufacturer’s instructions on the package should be followed. Because respirators are meant to be used by healthy
workers who have had training, medical evaluations, and
a proper fitting, the amount of protection provided by a
respirator to the general public might be much less.
• No U.S. agency tests and certifies respirators for public
use. However, NIOSH tests and certifies respirators for
use by workers to protect against workplace hazards. Respirators certified by NIOSH will be labeled “NIOSH
Approved” and will have an approval label that identifies
11
the hazard it will protect against. The N-95 respirator is
approved only for particulates including dust in the air
from sweeping, sawing, mold removal, and other activities that cause dust. The N-95 respirator is not designed
to protect against exposure to vapors or gases (e.g., carbon monoxide) and will not provide protection from
them.
A properly worn disposable respirator requires that:
• Metal nose piece, if present, is on the top to adjust the fit
to the wearer’s nose.
• NIOSH label is on the bottom outside of the respirator.
• Both respirator retaining straps are in place, and they are
securing the respirator to the face (some respirators have
only one strap).
For the Public Not Involved in Clean-up,
Debris Removal, or Similar Activities
Persons not involved in activities that disturb mold-contaminated materials have a lower risk for inhalation exposure
relative to persons performing those types of activities. Persons collecting belongings, visually inspecting homes or buildings, or doing basic clean-up for short periods in a previously
flooded home or building will not usually need to use a
respirator.
For the Public Unable to Use PPE or at High Health
Risk from Exposure to Mold
The effect of exposure to mold varies widely. Persons who
might be affected to a greater extent than the majority of
healthy adults include (5,6,9):
• persons with respiratory conditions (e.g., asthma) or
allergies, and
• persons with weakened immune systems (e.g., patients
receiving chemotherapy, organ or bone marrow transplant
recipients, or persons with human immunodeficiency
virus infection or autoimmune diseases).
Persons with special health concerns should consult their
health-care provider if they are concerned about mold exposure. Symptoms that might seem related to mold exposure
might have other causes, such as bacterial or viral infections
or other allergies. The level of risk associated with exposure
activities and the potential benefit of recommended PPE are
unknown for pregnant women, persons aged >65 years, and
children aged <12 years; exposure-reducing behavior and respiratory protection might be difficult for children aged <12
years.
Using respirators or other PPE might increase health risks
for persons with underlying health conditions. Persons who
have trouble breathing while using a respirator should stop
working and contact a doctor or other medical provider (1).
Click anywhere in the top portion of this page for updated/expanded articles on mold and other environmental
problem inspection, diagnosis, testing, remediation, and prevention articles online at InspectAPedia.com
12
MMWR
For persons at potentially increased health risks from exposure to mold, persons of unknown or uncertain risk, or persons unable to use respirators, caution is recommended when
entering heavily mold contaminated environments, particularly when mold clean-up is occurring. Persons in these categories should avoid such situations if possible.
Potential Health Effects of Fungal
Contamination
In recent years, the health effects of exposure to mold in
built environments have been a subject of intense public concern. These concerns and how they are approached will have
important implications for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of cities in states affected by major hurricanes or floods.
Many clinical conditions could be caused by the fungal
contamination associated with flooding after major hurricanes
or floods. Predicting what might occur is speculative. However, many of these conditions are uncommon and will be
recognized only if there is a high clinical index of suspicion
(Table 2). Anticipating what medical problems could be associated with post-flood fungal contamination might help in
preventing them by identifying susceptible populations and
making recommendations for reducing potentially harmful
exposures.
Although this report focuses on potential health effects of
fungal contamination, other exposures are also of concern.
For example, dampness favors proliferation of dust mites and
microorganisms such as bacteria (44,45) and nontuberculous
mycobacteria (46). Endotoxins (components of the cell walls
of Gram-negative bacteria) have strong inflammatory properties (6,44,45,47–49). Moisture also can release chemical constituents from building materials (6). Standing water supports
rodent and cockroach infestations (15,44,45) and proliferation of mosquitoes (30). Fecal contamination of the environment raises concerns about protozoal and helminthic parasites
(50). Fungi are not the sole potential cause of many conditions discussed in this report, and these conditions are only a
subset of the conditions of concern to clinicians and public
health professionals dealing with the aftermath of major hurricanes or floods (51).
Overview of Fungal-Induced Diseases
Fungi can cause a variety of infectious (52–58) and
noninfectious conditions (6,44,45,47,59,60). Several basic
mechanisms can underlie these conditions, including immunologic (e.g., IgE-mediated allergic), infectious, and toxic (6).
Several of these mechanisms contribute to pathogenesis of a
fungal-induced disease. The types and severity of symptoms
and diseases related to mold exposure depend in part on the
June 9, 2006
extent of the mold present, the extent of the person’s exposure, and the susceptibility of the person (e.g., persons who
have allergic conditions or who are immunosuppressed are
more susceptible than those without such conditions). Molds
produce a variety of volatile organic compounds (6,7,60), the
most common being ethanol (61), which are responsible for
the musty odors associated with fungal growth. Exposure to
moldy indoor environments is also associated with a variety
of upper and lower respiratory tract symptoms (6).
Institute of Medicine Report on Damp Indoor
Spaces and Health
In recent years, the issue of how damp indoor spaces and
mold contamination affect human health has been highly
controversial. In response, CDC commissioned the Institute
of Medicine (IOM) to perform a comprehensive review of
the scientific literature in this area. The resulting report (6)
was published in 2004 and remains the most current and authoritative source of information on this subject. The IOM
categorized its findings into four categories:
• sufficient evidence of a causal relation,
• sufficient evidence of an association,
• limited or suggestive evidence of an association, and
• inadequate or insufficient evidence to determine whether
an association exists.
“Inadequate or insufficient evidence to determine whether
an association exists” does not rule out the possibility of an
association. Rather, it indicates that no studies examined the
relation or that published study results were of insufficient
quality, consistency, or statistical power to permit a conclusion about an association. No conditions exists for which the
IOM found sufficient evidence of a causal relation with mold
or with damp indoor spaces. Several of the conditions are of
particular interest to those engaged in the response to major
hurricanes or floods (Table 3). Sufficient evidence links upper respiratory tract symptoms (e.g., nasal congestion, sneezing, runny or itchy nose, and throat irritation) to damp indoor
environments and mold (with exposure to mold often determined by self-report). Similarly, sufficient evidence exists for
a link with the lower respiratory tract symptoms of cough
and wheeze. Sufficient evidence also was found for a link between damp indoor environments, mold, and asthma symptoms in sensitized persons with asthma. Evidence also is
sufficient for an association between mold exposure and hypersensitivity pneumonitis in a small proportion of susceptible persons, invasive respiratory and other fungal infections
in severely immunocompromised persons, and fungal colonization of the respiratory tract or infection in persons with
chronic pulmonary disorders.
Click anywhere in the top portion of this page for updated/expanded articles on mold and other environmental
problem inspection, diagnosis, testing, remediation, and prevention articles online at InspectAPedia.com
Vol. 55 / RR-8
Recommendations and Reports
13
TABLE 2. Health effects of fungal contamination after major hurricanes and floods
Presentation
Specific
condition
Risk factors and
mechanisms
Clinical and diagnostic
considerations
Noninfectious
syndrome
Upper respiratory
Nasal congestion,
sneezing, runny or itchy
nose, sore throat
Irritation, allergic
rhinitis, conjunctivitis,
sinusitis
Not immunologic;
Immunoglobulin E (IgE)mediated, atopy a risk factor
Self-limited;
Positive skin or blood tests for
IgE sensitization; eosinophilic
nasal inflammation; colonization is not diagnostic; effective
treatment available
Lower respiratory
Cough, wheeze
Irritation, asthma
Not immunologic;
Often IgE-mediated; small
exposures can cause symptoms in sensitized persons;
ability of exposures to cause
asthma is unclear
Self-limited;
Skin or blood tests for IgE
sensitization are often positive;
airways instability documented
as spirometric obstruction
reversible with bronchodilators
or by methacholine challenge;
well-established treatment
guidelines.
Pneumonia-like presentation with cough, dyspnea,
fever, chills (acute form);
dyspnea, weight loss
(chronic form)
Hypersensitivity pneumonitis
Granulomatous interstitial lung
disease; even low levels of
airborne exposure can trigger
symptoms if susceptible
(unknown host factors
contribute to susceptibility)
Symptom onset in acute form
within hours of exposure;
chronic form requires ongoing
exposures and often lacks
acute symptoms; diagnosis by
criteria including history,
physical, chest imaging, and
serum precipitins
Worsening of existing
asthma; pneumonia-like
episodes; coughing up
brown plugs
Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis
Airways colonization with
Aspergillus spp. in the setting
of obstructive lung diseases
(asthma, cystic fibrosis, or
chronic obstructive pulmonary
disease); risk from increased
Aspergillus spp. exposure is
unclear
Diagnosis is based on multiple
criteria, including fleeting
infiltrates, central bronchiectasis, positive sputum culture for
Aspergillus spp., positive
Aspergillus skin test, positive
serum precipitins, and
increased serum IgE
Fever, influenza-like
symptoms within hours of
exposure
Humidifier fever
Inflammatory response to
bioaerosols from contaminated
humidification systems
Self-limited if exposure
removed or if patient is
removed from source
Fever, influenza-like
symptoms within hours of
exposure
Organic dust toxic
syndrome
Inflammatory response to
heavy dose of bioaerosols
generated from contaminated
materials
Prevention during renovation
tasks is critical
Upper respiratory
Inflammation of mucosa
with ischemia and
necrosis
Acute invasive fungal
sinusitis
Poorly controlled diabetes,
ketoacidosis (especially
zygomycosis), immunosuppressed persons
Histopathology is critical
Pneumonia
Fever, malaise, fatigue,
cough, dyspnea, often
presents with mild
symptoms.
Aspergillosis, Fusariosis,
Scedosporium spp.
infection
Immunosuppressed persons
(e.g., impaired host defense
from, leukemia, lymphoma,
organ transplant, or treatment
with corticosteroids, cancer
chemotherapy, and immunosuppressive medications)
Histopathology is critical; skin
lesions common and blood
culture often positive in
fusariosis
Fever, malaise, fatigue,
cough, dyspnea
Blastomycosis
Normal hosts are susceptible;
endemic to Washington
Parish, LA; exposure to dirt
excavation, decaying vegetation, or river water should be
suspect
Often extrapulmonary (e.g.,
skin, skeletal) lesions; consider
histopathology and culture of
any respiratory and skin illness
Inhalational fevers
Infectious syndrome
Click anywhere in the top portion of this page for updated/expanded articles on mold and other environmental
problem inspection, diagnosis, testing, remediation, and prevention articles online at InspectAPedia.com
14
MMWR
June 9, 2006
TABLE 2. (Continued) Health effects of fungal contamination after major hurricanes and floods
Presentation
Specific
condition
Risk factors and
mechanisms
Clinical and diagnostic
considerations
Infectious syndrome
Skin
Post-traumatic infection
Scedoporium
apiospermum
Inoculation of mold while
exposed to polluted water,
usually feet or legs
Madura foot, a mycetoma with
draining sinuses demonstrate
white grains of fungal elements
Sporothrix schenckii
Inoculation from vegetation
(e.g., bushes)
Spread through local lymphatics
Endophthalmitis,
keratitis
Ocular pain, redness,
photophobia
Various
Minor trauma to eye with
inoculation of soil or plant
saprophytes
Full ophthalmologic examination, corneal scraping, vitreous
tap for culture
Central nervous
system
Brain abscess
Scedosporium
apiospermum (classical)
Transient pulmonary infection
with hematogenous spread
after massive aspiration of
polluted water (near drowning)
Can present up to 3 months
after near drowning
IgE-Mediated Diseases Caused by Fungi
IgE-mediated, or allergic, responses underlie the most common types of diseases associated with exposure to fungi
(6,45,47,48,49). Atopy, or the genetic predisposition to form
IgE responses to aeroallergens, is an important risk factor
(45,47,48,49). Clinical conditions associated with allergies
include allergic rhinitis and asthma (6,45,47,48,49). Allergic
rhinitis is often associated with allergic conjunctivitis and sinusitis (45,47,49).
Symptoms of allergic rhinitis include sneezing; itching of
the nose, eyes, mouth, or throat; nasal stuffiness; clear rhinorrhea; and, if associated with allergic conjunctivitis, red, itchy
eyes. If associated with sinusitis, persons also might complain
of sinus fullness or postnasal drip, often purulent (47–49).
Signs on physical examination include pale, boggy nasal mucosa; nasal obstruction; and conjunctival redness. Examination of nasal scrapings or secretions indicates eosinophilic
inflammation (47–49). If appropriate allergy prick skin testing reagents or in vitro tests for serum specific IgE are conducted, they demonstrate specific IgE-sensitization to causative
allergens (45,47–49). Skin testing reagents and blood tests
documenting IgE-sensitization to molds are, with few exceptions, poorly standardized and of unclear sensitivity and specificity (45). The conventional hierarchy of treatment is
avoidance of exposure to inciting agents; pharmacotherapy
with antihistamines, decongestants, or anti-inflammatory
agents (e.g., nasal steroid sprays); or, as a last resort, allergen
immunotherapy (47–49). Immunotherapy with fungal allergenic extracts is, with a few exceptions, of unknown efficacy
(47).
Asthma is a disease characterized by episodic, reversible airways obstruction and eosinophilic airways inflammation
(45,47–49,62,63). Over time, chronic asthma can lead to air-
ways remodeling and irreversible airways obstruction (45,47–
49,62,63). Persons with asthma often have symptoms such as
chest tightness, wheezing, dyspnea, or cough (45,47–
49,62,63). Physical examination during active asthma might
indicate wheezing, but results of examinations between attacks are most often normal (62,63). If performed during an
active asthma attack, spirometry most often indicates obstruction that reverses with inhalation of a bronchodilator (62,63).
Persons with asthma generally exhibit bronchial hyperreactivity to methacholine challenge (45,47–49,62). However, a
small proportion of persons without asthma and a substantial proportion of persons with airway disorders, including
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), also might
exhibit hyperreactivity to inhaled methacholine (49); therefore, test results must be considered together with other clinical information (47–49,62,63). Approaches to demonstrating
specific IgE sensitization to molds and limitations of available methods are as described for allergic rhinitis (45,47–49).
Asthma is associated with airways inflammation that can be
demonstrated by examining induced sputum for eosinophils
or measuring exhaled nitric oxide (47), but these tests are often not performed in clinical settings.
Comprehensive guidelines for the staging and treatment of
asthma are provided by the National Institutes of Health
(62,63). Identifying and avoiding triggers, including occupational triggers, is a critical element of treatment. It is important to identify persons with asthma triggered by materials in
flood-damaged areas so avoidance measures can be taken. Drug
treatment of asthma consists of symptom controllers such as
bronchodilators and anti-inflammatory agents (e.g., corticosteroids or leukotriene antagonists) (47–49,62,63). The role
of allergen immunotherapy with most fungal agents in treatment of asthma is unclear (48). Therapy with monoclonal
Click anywhere in the top portion of this page for updated/expanded articles on mold and other environmental
problem inspection, diagnosis, testing, remediation, and prevention articles online at InspectAPedia.com
Vol. 55 / RR-8
Recommendations and Reports
15
TABLE 3. Evidence of an association between damp indoor environments and mold health outcomes
Health outcome or symptom
Exposure to damp indoor environments
Presence of mold or other agents
in damp indoor environment
Upper respiratory tract symptoms*
Sufficient evidence of an association†
Sufficient evidence of an association†
Cough§
Sufficient evidence of an association
Sufficient evidence of an association
Mucous membrane irritation syndrome
Inadequate or insufficient evidence¶
Inadequate or insufficient evidence
Wheeze§
Sufficient evidence of an association
Sufficient evidence of an association
Asthma symptoms in sensitized persons
with asthma
Sufficient evidence of an association
Sufficient evidence of an association
Asthma development
Limited or suggestive evidence**
Inadequate or insufficient evidence
Airflow obstruction in otherwise
healthy persons
Inadequate or insufficient evidence
Inadequate or insufficient evidence
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Inadequate or insufficient evidence
Inadequate or insufficient evidence
Hypersensitivity pneumonitis†† in susceptible
persons
Studied in relation to specific agents
Sufficient evidence of an association
Shortness of breath (dyspnea)
Limited or suggestive evidence
Inadequate or insufficient evidence
Respiratory illness in otherwise
healthy children
Limited or suggestive evidence
Limited or suggestive evidence
Respiratory illness in otherwise healthy adults
Inadequate or insufficient evidence
Inadequate or insufficient evidence
Acute idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage
in infants
Inadequate or insufficient evidence
Inadequate or insufficient evidence
Fungal sinusitis§§
No specific studies associated the condition
with damp or moldy indoor spaces
No specific studies associated the condition
with damp or moldy indoor spaces
Severe respiratory infections in persons
whose immune system is severely
immunocompromised¶¶
Not applicable***
Sufficient evidence of an association
Fungus-related illnesses in persons
whose immune system is severely
immunocompromised¶¶ and who have
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Not applicable***
Sufficient evidence of an association
Colonization and potential lung infection
in persons with some chronic pulmonary
disorders†††
Not applicable***
Sufficient evidence of an association
Skin symptoms, gastrointestinal problems,
fatigue, neuropsychiatric symptoms, cancer,
reproductive effects, and rheumatologic and
other immune conditions
Inadequate or insufficient evidence
Inadequate or insufficient evidence
* Upper respiratory tract symptoms include nasal congestion, rhinitis, allergic rhinitis (i.e., hay fever), sneezing, runny or itchy nose, sinusitis, and sore throat.
Sufficient evidence of an association means that studies document an association between the agent and disease and that chance, bias, and
confounding factors were ruled out with reasonable confidence.
§ Lower respiratory tract symptoms include cough (with or without production of phlegm), wheeze, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.
¶ Inadequate or insufficient evidence to determine whether an association exists means that the available studies are of insufficient quality, consistency,
or statistical power to permit a conclusion regarding the presence of an association or that no studies have examined the relation.
** Limited or suggestive evidence of an association means that evidence is suggestive of an association between the agent and the disease but is limited
because chance, bias, and confounding factors cannot be ruled out with confidence.
†† Hypersensitivity pneumonitis is a lung disease that results from exposure and sensitization to antigens inhaled with a variety of organic dusts.
Symptoms include dry cough, dyspnea, fever, and sometimes acute bronchospasm.
§§ Fungal sinusitis is associated with molds, but molds might come from the indoor or the outdoor environment.
¶¶ Immunocompromised persons are at increased risk for fungal colonization or opportunistic infections.
• Fungal exposure causes opportunistic cutaneous and subcutaneous fungal infections of the skin of severely immunocompromised persons.
• Respiratory infections can result from exposure to fungi, including Aspergillus spp. and Fusarium spp.
• Severely immunocompromised persons include persons who undergo high-dose cancer chemotherapy, are recent recipients of a solid-organ transplant, or are otherwise immunocompromised.
*** Respiratory infections, fungus-related illnesses, and colonization with lung infection relating to specific organisms.
††† Chronic pulmonary disorders include cystic fibrosis, asthma, and COPD. Colonization and infections result from exposure to fungi such as Aspergillus.
Source: Institute of Medicine. Damp indoor spaces and health. Washington, DC: National Academies Press; 2004. Available at: http://www.nap.edu/
books/0309091934/html.
†
Click anywhere in the top portion of this page for updated/expanded articles on mold and other environmental
problem inspection, diagnosis, testing, remediation, and prevention articles online at InspectAPedia.com
16
MMWR
anti-IgE is a recently developed treatment option that can be
used in carefully selected patients when other, less expensive
modalities fail to reduce dependence on systemic corticosteroids (63). The exacerbation of symptoms of asthma is consistently associated with damp buildings (6). If persons with
asthma must engage in activities within damp or mold contaminated buildings, their asthma should be well controlled
before entering these buildings, and those around them should
be aware of the signs of asthma symptoms. The onset of symptoms while in damp moldy environments, especially while
wearing PPE, should be an indication to leave the area and to
seek appropriate medical care.
Allergic Diseases Associated With Airways
Colonization
Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) is a disease that can occur when the airways of persons with obstructive pulmonary diseases (e.g., asthma or cystic fibrosis) become
colonized with Aspergillus fumigatus or other Aspergillus species (6,17,45,47–49). Inflammatory responses lead to additional airways damage. Marked worsening of existing asthma
is a typical presentation of ABPA. Symptoms include recurrent episodes of bronchial obstruction, fever, malaise, expectoration of brownish plugs, peripheral blood eosinophilia,
hemoptysis, and sometimes asymptomatic pulmonary consolidation. Other features include immediate skin test reactivity to Aspergillus spp. antigens, precipitating serum
antibodies to A. fumigatus, markedly elevated serum total IgE,
fleeting lung infiltrates, and central bronchiectasis (45,47–
49). Criteria for diagnosis have been published (45,47–49).
Airways colonization with other fungal species can result in a
similar clinical picture. Although no known relation exists
between levels of exposure to Aspergillus spp. and development of ABPA, clinicians should suspect and evaluate for the
condition when appropriate.
Allergic fungal sinusitis (AFS) is typically noninvasive and
occurs in allergic, immunocompetent patients (6,45,47–49):
most have asthma, and 85% have nasal polyps (47). Invasive
fungal sinusitis can occur in patients who are
immunocompromised with illnesses such as diabetes, hematologic malignancies or immunosuppressive treatments or
chronic steroid therapy (6,47). Fungal colonization is associated with a characteristic allergic mucin containing high levels of eosinophils (6,45,47–49). The mere presence of fungi
in the nasal passages is not indicative of an active infection.
Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis
Hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP), also known as extrinsic allergic alveolitis, is a granulomatous interstitial lung disease (6,17,45,47–49). A wide range of materials, including
June 9, 2006
fungi, can be inhaled and thus sensitize susceptible persons
by inducing both antibody and cell-mediated immune responses (6,17,45,47–49). Re-exposure of sensitized persons
leads to lung inflammation and disease (6,17,45,47–49).
Building-related HP caused by fungi and bacteria has been
well documented (6,17). Usually, only a small fraction of those
with a given exposure develop HP; therefore, poorly understood host factors play an important role in disease pathogenesis (6,47–49).
The presentation of HP is complex and can be either acute,
subacute, or chronic (6,47,48). The acute form is often associated with heavy exposures and characterized by chills, fever,
malaise, cough, and dyspnea appearing 4–8 hours after exposure (6,47,48) and is often confused with pneumonia. The
chronic form is thought to be induced by continuous lowlevel exposure. Onset generally occurs without chills, fever,
or malaise and is characterized by progressive shortness of
breath with weight loss (47,48). Chronic HP can be confused with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis or other forms of
interstitial lung disease (47,48).
The diagnosis of HP, especially the chronic form or when
presentation is mild, is often missed early in the course of the
disease. If it does occur in the aftermath of major hurricanes
or floods, a high degree of clinical suspicion is required for
detection. In general, when HP is suspected, a clinical and
exposure history should be performed. Patients should be
asked about their possible exposure to damp and water-damaged areas, farms, birds, hot tubs, and other environments
that might cause HP. Environmental sampling for the presence of microorganisms known to cause HP and serologic
testing for circulating precipitins can help to establish causative exposures (47–49). Chest imaging using chest radiographs or high-resolution computed tomography scanning
of the thorax, lung-function tests, broncholaveolar lavage, and
lung biopsy all have roles in diagnosis (47–49). Although established criteria exist for the diagnosis of hypersensitivity
pneumonitis (64,65), in the setting of a documented postdisaster HP outbreak, a noninvasive approach to identifying
cases could be more appropriate and cost-effective than requiring conventional diagnostic testing. A recent, large
multicenter study indicated that under conditions of low or
high prevalence, six predictors could be used in combination
for noninvasive diagnosis of HP (66):
• exposure to a known offending antigen,
• positive precipitating antibodies to the offending antigen,
• recurrent episodes of symptoms,
• inspiratory crackles on physical examination,
• symptoms occurring 4–8 hours after exposure, and
• weight loss.
Click anywhere in the top portion of this page for updated/expanded articles on mold and other environmental
problem inspection, diagnosis, testing, remediation, and prevention articles online at InspectAPedia.com
Vol. 55 / RR-8
Recommendations and Reports
Optimal treatment is elimination of causative exposures.
The IOM report (6) provides information about management
of building-related HP that is relevant to reoccupation of structures contaminated by fungi after major hurricanes or floods.
Such management includes giving standard medical therapy
(e.g., systemic corticosteroids and removing sources of fungal
contamination from the environment). In some cases, if efforts to remove mold from a building are unsuccessful in relieving symptoms, the patient might need to move to another
home or office.
Inhalation Fevers
Inhalation fever is a general name given to a variety of influenza-like, self-limited syndromes that might be caused by
a variety of stimuli. Two types of inhalation fevers are of potential concern after major hurricanes or floods.
Humidifier fever is characterized by fever, respiratory symptoms, and fatigue with onset within hours after exposure to
contaminated humidification systems (6,17,45,47). Obtaining a supportive history is critical to diagnosis. Thermophilic
actinomycetes; other bacteria, including species of Legionella
and Pseudomonas; and protozoa have been associated with
humidifier fever (17). Aerosolized endotoxin derived from
Gram-negative bacteria has an important role in this condition (17,47). Although humidifier fever can be confused with
acute HP, it is a short-term ailment and removal from exposure is effective treatment (17,47). Humidifier fever is thought
to represent a nonspecific inflammatory response to exposure
(17,47).
Organic dust toxic syndrome (ODTS) has been reported
among workers in a variety of agricultural and industrial settings and is thought to involve inhalation exposure to materials with heavy microbial contamination (67–69). Etiologic
exposures that cause ODTS are often a poorly defined mixture of substances, including fungi, bacteria, and microbial
constituents such as endotoxin (67–69). ODTS is characterized by fever and influenza-like symptoms, including general
weakness, headache, chills, body aches, and cough occurring
4–12 hours after heavy exposure to organic dust (67–69).
Dyspnea also is sometimes present. Results of chest auscultation and chest radiographs are usually normal (67,68). The
peripheral white blood count is often elevated during attacks.
Accurate patient history is critical for making a correct diagnosis. Although the symptoms resemble those of acute HP,
they are not caused by response of the immune system to a
specific antigen in the environment (67,68). ODTS poses a
risk for workers performing renovation work on building
materials and is a realistic concern for workers handling heavily
contaminated materials in the aftermath of major hurricanes
or floods. ODTS is best prevented by minimizing exposure
17
through engineering controls, administrative controls, and
respirators (69). For agricultural workers handling organic
dusts, CDC recommends using the most practical respirator
with the highest assigned protection factor.
Toxic Effects of Fungi
Certain common molds can produce metabolites with a
wide range of toxic activities such as antibiotic (e.g., penicillium), immune-suppressive (e.g., cyclosporine), carcinogenic
(e.g., aflatoxins), emetic, and hallucinogenic (e.g., ergot alkaloids) (6,11,17,59). Mycotoxins are fungal metabolites that
poison humans and animals. Although ingestion is the most
common route of exposure, inhalation and dermal contact
also are exposures of concern (6,11,17,59). Mycotoxin production is dependent not only on species and strain of mold,
but also on environmental conditions (e.g., temperature, water activity, light) and growth substrate (11,17). Thus, the
presence of toxin-producing mold species does not
necessarily indicate whether mycotoxins are present.
Mycotoxins were prematurely proposed as the cause of a
disease outbreak of eight cases of acute pulmonary hemorrhage/hemosiderosis in infants in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1993
and 1994 (70). The cluster was attributed to exposure to
mycotoxins produced by Stachybotrys chartarum. Subsequent
reviews of the evidence concluded that insufficient information existed and no such association was proven (71).
Almost all of the known effects of mycotoxin exposures are
attributable to ingestion of contaminated food (72). Health
effects from inhalational exposures to toxins are not well documented. IOM found inadequate or insufficient evidence for
a link between exposure to damp indoor environments and
molds with a variety of conditions that have been attributed
to toxicity (6) (Table 3). Certain case studies of agricultural
and remediation workers have described adverse health effects such as skin irritation, skin necrosis, cough, rhinitis, and
bloody nasal exudate after inhaling or touching materials with
heavy fungal contamination (73–76). Whether these effects
resulted from exposure to mycotoxins or from a general overload of organic material is unknown. No commercial clinical
diagnostic tools are available to determine whether a person’s
health effect is related to exposure to mycotoxins. Because of
the lack of information about noningestion mycotoxin exposure and adverse health effects in humans, precautions should
be taken when handling heavily contaminated building
materials.
Fungal Infections
No reports of increased fungal infections related to floods
in the United States exist. However, anecdotal case reports of
fungal infection after floods include Apophysomyces elegans
Click anywhere in the top portion of this page for updated/expanded articles on mold and other environmental
problem inspection, diagnosis, testing, remediation, and prevention articles online at InspectAPedia.com
18
MMWR
wound infection in a man who sustained traumatic injuries
after the southeast Asian tsunami in December 2004 (77).
A. elegans belongs to the Zygomycetes class of fungi. Infections are most commonly seen in immunocompromised and
diabetic patients, and rarely in immunocompetent persons.
The cause of infection in immunocompetent persons is usually cutaneous trauma with direct implantation of fungal organisms into the wound from soil contamination (78).
Theoretically, infection with fungal species that contaminate buildings, building constituents, and the environment
after major hurricanes or floods is a potential concern. In general, persons with impaired host defenses (especially if impaired because of cell-mediated immunity or neutropenia)
suffer the most severe types of fungal infections (6,52,53)
(Table 4). However, invasive fungal infections also can occur
in persons with normal host defenses and, in certain situations, can be life threatening (52,53) (Table 5). Persons at
greatest risk for invasive fungal infection from heavy fungal
contamination after major hurricanes or floods are those with
impaired host defenses (6,52,53) (Table 4). Any impairment
in cell-mediated immunity or neutropenia (e.g., human immunodeficiency virus [HIV] infection, leukemia, lymphoma,
and diabetes mellitus) increases risk for many types of invasive fungal infections (52,53). Severely immunosuppressed
persons, such as solid-organ or stem-cell transplant recipients
or those receiving cancer chemotherapy agents, corticosteroids, or other agents inhibiting immune function, are at much
higher risk for locally invasive infections of the lungs, sinuses,
or skin and systemic infections (52,53). Aspergillus spp.,
zygomycetes, and Fusarium spp. are particularly important
June 9, 2006
problems (52,53,56). These serious infections are often fatal,
even with aggressive antifungal therapy (52,53,56).
Protective measures, such as HEPA filtration, implemented
during periods of extreme susceptibility to invasive fungal
infections are well established and effective in hospitals (79).
However, preventive measures outside the hospital are less
well established. Current guidelines emphasize the importance
of avoiding areas of high dust (e.g., excavation sites, building
construction or renovation sites, chicken coops, and caves)
and factors associated with fungal infections (e.g., foods that
increase a person’s risk for fungal exposure) (80).
Obstructive pulmonary diseases such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, and COPD, might predispose persons to airway colonization with Aspergillus spp. (6,17,45,47–49). Inflammatory
host responses to colonization can lead to ABPA (6,17,45,47–
49,52). Aspergillus spp. also can cause invasive or semi-invasive infection in persons with COPD, especially in those being
treated with corticosteroids. Chronic necrotizing pulmonary
aspergillosis is an indolent condition observed in persons with
underlying lung disease (53).
Colonization of lung cavities (e.g., tuberculosis cavities or
emphysematous blebs) by Aspergillus spp. can cause pulmonary aspergillomas (fungus balls) (6,52), which are conglomerations of Aspergillus spp. hyphae matted together with fibrin,
mucus, and cellular debris. These often do not cause symptoms, but they can be associated with hemoptysis (52,53).
An exposure-response relation has never been established linking levels of exposure to Aspergillus spp. with development of
any of these conditions. Therefore, to what degree exposure
to fungal contamination after major hurricanes or floods
would increase any risk is unclear. However, despite unknown
TABLE 4. Fungal infections in immunosuppressed hosts (most common agents)
Route
Syndrome
Organism
Inhalation
Acute sinusitis
Zygomycetes (Rhizopus, Rhizomucor, Absidia);
Aspergillus spp.
Inhalation
Rhinocerebral
Mucormycosis
Brain abscess
Zygomycetes (Rhizopus, Rhizomucor, Absidia);
Aspergillus spp.
Dissemination from primary focus in lungs
Skin lesions
Bone lesions
Other body sites
Blastomyces dermatitidis; Histoplasma capsulatum
Dissemination from primary focus in lungs
Skin lesions
Meningitis
Fungemia
Cryptococcus neoformans
Inhalation
Invasive pulmonary aspergillosis
Aspergillus species (A. fumigatus and A. flavus most
common)
Inhalation
Invasive systemic infections
Fusarium spp.
Inhalation
Pneumonia
Scedosporium spp.
Inoculation
Skin/soft tissue
Fusarium spp.
Click anywhere in the top portion of this page for updated/expanded articles on mold and other environmental
problem inspection, diagnosis, testing, remediation, and prevention articles online at InspectAPedia.com
Vol. 55 / RR-8
Recommendations and Reports
19
TABLE 5. Fungal infections in normal and compromised hosts (most common agents)
Route
Syndrome
Organism
Traumatic implantation
Chronic sinusitis
Alternaria, Bipolaris, Curvularia, Exserohilum
species; Aspergillus species
Inhalation/implantation
Brain abscess
Scedosporium apiospermum; Cladophialophora
bantiana; Ochroconis (Dactylaria) gallopava;
Exophiala (Wangiella) dermatitidis; Curvularia,
Bipolaris, Exserohilum species
Inhalation
Aspergilloma (fungus ball) chronic
necrotizing pulmonary aspergillosis
Aspergillus species (A. fumigatus and A. flavus most
common)
Inhalation
Pulmonary
Blastomyces dermatitidis; Histoplasma capsulatum
Trauma to eye
Keratitis/other ocular infections
Fusarium, Aspergillus, Scedosporium,
Paecilomyces, Acremonium species; Curvularia,
Exserohilum, Bipolaris species; Zygomycetes
(Rhizopus and others);
Person to person
Fomite to person or
Animal to person
(clusters and outbreaks possible)
Skin/hair/nails
Dermatophytes (Microsporum, Trichophyton
Epidermophyton species)
Inoculation
(not contagious)
Skin/nails
Scytalidium, Candida, Scopulariopsis species
Inoculation
Skin/deep tissue
Aspergillus, Fusarium, Scedosporium, Acremonium
species (hyalohyphomycosis); Alternaria, Exophiala
jeanselmei, Exophiala (Wangiella) dermatitidis,
Phialophora, Curvularia, Bipolaris species
(phaeohyphomycosis); Fonsecaea pedrosoi,
Cladophialophora carrionii, Phialophora verrucosa
(chromoblastomycosis); Sporothrix schenckii
(sporotrichosis)
benefit, persons with clinically significant obstructive pulmonary diseases (e.g., asthma, cystic fibrosis, COPD), and persons with cavitary lung disease from conditions such as
tuberculosis should avoid airborne exposure to materials that
have become heavily contaminated with fungal growth in the
wake of major hurricanes or floods.
Persons with normal host defenses also are subject to fungal infections (52,53) (Table 5), and persons with impaired
host defenses can acquire any of these, often with greater severity. Ocular, skin, and superficial infections occur in those
with normal host defenses and range from the relatively common (e.g., ringworm, athlete’s foot) to the relatively rare (e.g.,
sporotrichosis) (52,53). Of particular relevance in areas with
fungal contamination after major hurricanes or floods are
organisms that cause localized skin and superficial infections
following traumatic inoculation with soil and plant
saprophytes, which are found in air, soil, and plant materials.
For example, Scedosporium apiospermum (Pseudallescheria
boydii) can be recovered from polluted water, sewage, swamps,
and poultry or cattle manure (52,53,55,58). Although rare in
the United States, this organism can cause a soft tissue infection called Madura foot, a mycetoma in which the draining
sinuses show white grains containing fungal elements. This
organism also can produce septic arthritis or osteomyelitis
after penetrating trauma. Sporothrix schenckii is a dimorphic
fungus that produces soft tissue infections after traumatic inoculation from a contaminated environmental source (52,53),
such as sphagnum moss, roses, plant seedlings, and other vegetation. Lymphocutaneous lesions are the hallmark of sporotrichosis, as the organisms spread through the local lymphatics
after primary inoculation. A high degree of clinical suspicion
is needed to diagnose the less common, locally invasive fungal infections. Diagnosis is made by histopathology and culture after biopsy of the affected lesion. Histopathology must
be performed to verify that a recovered isolate is the cause of
disease and not an environmental contaminant. Culture must
be performed to identify the agent correctly. Fungal isolates
are identified in a clinical mycology laboratory.
Exposures that result in invasive pulmonary mycoses in
persons with normal host defenses are generally thought to
occur outdoors where active disturbance of a reservoir has
occurred (52,53). The mode of transmission is inhalation of
fungal spores. Person-to-person transmission of pulmonary
mycoses does not occur (53). Diseases relevant to flood prone
Click anywhere in the top portion of this page for updated/expanded articles on mold and other environmental
problem inspection, diagnosis, testing, remediation, and prevention articles online at InspectAPedia.com
20
MMWR
areas such as the Gulf Coast states include histoplasmosis and
blastomycosis. Histoplasmosis is unlikely to be increased as a
result of fungal contamination after major hurricanes or floods.
The condition is caused by Histoplasma capsulatum, a dimorphic fungus found in soil enriched with the droppings of birds
and bats (52,53). Areas with endemic disease in the United
States include the Mississippi and Ohio River valleys, but cases
have occurred in other parts of the United States. Many persons develop no symptoms when exposed to H. capsulatum
in an endemic setting.
Blastomycosis is a potential problem after major hurricanes
or floods in areas with endemic disease because it can cause
serious disease even in those with normal host defenses (52,53).
Blastomycosis is caused by the dimorphic fungus Blastomyces
dermatitidis (52,53). The organism is found in moist soil,
frequently along streams or rivers enriched with decaying vegetation. In the United States, the organism is most commonly
found in states surrounding the Mississippi and Ohio rivers
(52,53). An area in Louisiana about 70 miles from New Orleans has endemic blastomycosis (81). In Louisiana, cases occur at an incidence of about 1–10 per year, mostly in the area
of Washington Parish where the condition is endemic (81).
Outbreaks have been associated with manipulation of decaying vegetation or recreational activity near lakes or rivers (53).
The incubation period is not certain but, on the basis of data
from outbreaks, appears to be about 45 days (82), ranging
from weeks to months.
The clinical spectrum of blastomycosis includes asymptomatic infection, acute or chronic pneumonia, and disseminated
disease (52,53). Pulmonary infection can mimic acute bacterial pneumonia or tuberculosis with progression to acute respiratory distress syndrome. Alveolar infiltrates, mass lesions
that mimic bronchogenic carcinoma, and fibronodular interstitial infiltrates are the most common radiographic findings
(52,53). Disseminated blastomycosis often appears as ulcerative skin lesions with multiple necrotic bone lesions in the
vertebrae, skull, or long bones (52,53).
Culture of lesions or histopathologic evidence from infected
tissue is required for diagnosis of blastomycosis (52,53). Direct microscopy of pus, scrapings from skin lesions, or sputum showing thick-walled broad-based budding yeast cells
5–15 µm in diameter supports a presumptive diagnosis of
blastomycosis and might, in the appropriate clinical setting,
prompt the initiation of antifungal therapy (52,53). Serologic
tests can be performed on serum from patients showing signs
of suspected pulmonary blastomycosis or with suggestive skin
lesions. A positive immunodiffusion (ID) test, showing a precipitin band with the Blastomyces A antigen, is highly specific
for the disease and does not require paired serum samples
June 9, 2006
(52,53). However, the sensitivity is poor (33%–88%), so a
negative ID test does not rule out the disease (52,53). For
cases with negative results, the test should be repeated in 3–4
weeks after the initial sampling. The complement fixation (CF)
test for blastomycosis has poor sensitivity and specificity.
Fungal brain abscesses are uncommon in healthy persons
(52,53,57). The primary infection results from inhalation of
infectious conidia from the environment; the route of infection appears to be hematogenous dissemination from the lungs
(52,53,57). Of particular interest after major hurricanes or
floods is S. apiospermum (P. boydii) (52,53,57). Many case
reports document patients with focal neurologic defects caused
by multiple brain abscesses weeks or months after nearly
drowning. The organism apparently spreads hematogenously
after initial aspiration of sewage-laden water (from floods,
lagoons, or bayous) into the lungs. Near drowning presumptively results in a massive inoculation of mold into the lungs.
Preventing Adverse Health Effects From
Environmental Fungal Contamination After
Major Hurricanes or Floods
Persons should reduce their exposure to molds as much as
possible (with the realization that fungi are ubiquitous). Persons with underlying or induced immunosuppressed conditions or diseases caused by immune sensitization to fungal
constituents present in mold growth should be especially careful to reduce exposure. If exposure to heavily mold-contaminated materials is unavoidable, persons should use appropriate
administrative, engineering, and personal protection controls.
Because a person’s likelihood of developing adverse health effects from mold exposure depends on the type of exposure
and on individual susceptibility, precautionary measures need
to be customized. Recommended measures are based on professional judgment because of lack of available scientific evidence. For example, no research studies have evaluated the
effectiveness of personal protective equipment in preventing
illness from mold exposure. Total avoidance of heavily contaminated buildings or other high exposure situations is suggested for persons with specific underlying conditions such
as profound immunosuppression. Respiratory protection,
dermal protection, and occlusive eye protection recommendations are customized to various populations and exposureassociated activities. Repeated or prolonged exposure probably
poses a greater health risk than do exposures of a similar intensity, but short duration. Preventive precautions are especially important for persons who expect to be highly exposed
for a long time.
Click anywhere in the top portion of this page for updated/expanded articles on mold and other environmental
problem inspection, diagnosis, testing, remediation, and prevention articles online at InspectAPedia.com
Vol. 55 / RR-8
Recommendations and Reports
Public Health Strategies and
Recommendations for State
and Local Officials
Recommendations from CDC are for protecting and monitoring the health and safety of workers and residents who
enter, repair, or destroy flooded buildings. The recommendations are focused on limiting human exposure to mold and
other microbial agents and preventing any adverse health effects related to such exposure. Several factors are assumed:
• In the aftermath of major hurricanes and floods, buildings or materials soaked for >48 hours are contaminated
with mold unless proven otherwise by inspection or adequate environmental sampling or cleaned according to
the EPAs recommendations (13).
• Workers and residents might be exposed to high levels of
mold-related contaminants.
• Sufficient evidence exists of an association between adverse health outcomes and exposure to damp indoor environments or materials contaminated with fungal growth.
• Insufficient evidence exists for establishing health-related
guidelines on the basis of concentrations of mold (quantitative measure) or species of mold (qualitative measure)
in either indoor or outdoor environments.
• Allergen testing to determine the presence of IgE to specific fungi might be a useful component in the complete
clinical evaluation and diagnosis of mold-related allergies and in the decision to avoid exposure to fungal allergens that might be causing allergic symptoms. However,
testing for IgE sensitization to molds has important limitations. Allergens used in these tests are often poorly standardized and the tests often have unclear sensitivity and
specificity. In addition, allergen testing is not relevant to
diseases that are not mediated by IgE.
• Clear, concise, and practical recommendations and actions are necessary to limit exposure to mold and to prevent mold-related health outcomes where possible.
Assessing Exposure to Mold
Exposure assessment is usually a critical step in determining whether persons are exposed to a hazard at a level that
could have an adverse health effect. The mere presence of a
chemical or biologic hazard in the environment is insufficient to create a public health hazard. The contaminant must
be present in an environmental medium (e.g. air, water, food,
and dust) that allows it to come in contact with persons and
move along a biologic pathway (e.g., inhalation, ingestion,
and absorption). In addition, the concentration of the contaminant must be sufficient to create a biologic response that
leads to an adverse health outcome. Mold and its spores exist
21
in damp materials. Disturbing mold releases potentially hazardous particulates into the air, which can then be drawn into
the sinuses and lungs. Although molds also might directly
attack the skin or openings in the skin, the most common
route of exposure is through the air and into the body by
inhalation. Environmental sampling for molds has limited
value and, in most instances, is not needed after major hurricanes or floods.
Exposure Assessment
Building interiors should be assumed to be substantially
contaminated with mold in the following circumstances:
• The building was saturated with water for >48 hours.
• Visible mold growth is extensive and in excess of that
present before a major hurricane or flood
• Signs of water damage are visible or mildew odors are
strong.
Exposure to materials and structures contaminated with
mold should be assumed to present a potential health risk
regardless of the type of mold. Risk for illness does not necessarily vary with the type of mold or the extent of contamination.
Preventing Excessive Exposure to Mold
Preventing excessive exposure to mold is the best way to
avoid harmful health consequences. The preferred approach
to preventing mold exposure is to prevent water from infiltrating a building or damaging household goods and structures. After major hurricanes or floods, substantial water
damage and mold growth might occur in many buildings.
If left undisturbed, mold is generally not a hazard, and most
persons will not be adversely affected by moderate exposure
to mold. However, in the aftermath of a major hurricane or
flood, remediation activities within buildings will disturb any
mold that is growing and lead to exposure. To prevent excessive exposure to mold in contaminated areas that are disturbed,
persons who enter those areas should implement environmental controls (e.g., suppression of dust and isolation of the contaminated area), use PPE, or both. Preventing human exposure
to mold and health effects from such exposure depends on
three factors:
• The likely concentration of mold in or on the building
fabric or materials.
• The duration and type of activity undertaken in the moldcontaminated area.
• The susceptibility of the person entering the area to the
various health effects.
Four methods for preventing exposure to mold can be used
in combination:
• avoiding areas thought to be mold-contaminated,
Click anywhere in the top portion of this page for updated/expanded articles on mold and other environmental
problem inspection, diagnosis, testing, remediation, and prevention articles online at InspectAPedia.com
22
MMWR
• using environmental controls,
• using PPE, and
• employing strict personal hygiene.
Avoidance
Persons
The following persons should avoid mold-contaminated
environments entirely:
• transplant recipients, including those who received organ or hematopoietic stem cell transplants during the preceding 6 months or who are undergoing periods of
substantial immunosuppression,
• persons with neutropenia (neutrophil count <500/µL)
attributed to any cause, including neoplasm, cancer chemotherapy, or other immunosuppressive therapy,
• persons with CD4+ lymphocyte counts <200/µL attributed to any cause, including HIV infection, and
• other persons considered by their physicians to have profoundly impaired antifungal host defenses caused by congenital or acquired immunodeficiency.
The following persons might be able to tolerate limited exposure, but they should consult with their physicians and
should consider avoiding areas where moldy materials are disturbed:
• persons receiving chemotherapy for cancer, corticosteroid therapy, or other immunosuppressive drug therapy,
as long as neutropenia or CD4+ lymphopenia are not
present,
• persons with immunosuppressive diseases such as leukemia, lymphoma or HIV infection, as long as there is not
marked impairment in immune function,
• pregnant women,
• persons aged >65 years,
• children aged <12 years, particularly infants, and
• persons with chronic, obstructive, or allergic lung diseases.
Places
All buildings with extensive mold contamination require
remediation before rehabilitation. Remediation includes structural repairs to prevent additional water intrusion, removal
of mold-contaminated materials that cannot be adequately
cleaned and decontaminated, and cleaning and decontamination of mold-contaminated materials that can withstand
such treatment. Health-care facilities and other locations that
house highly susceptible persons require special attention.
These facilities must be adequately remediated before being
occupied by highly susceptible persons. Guidelines for
remediating health-care facilities include:
June 9, 2006
• Remediation and Infection Control Considerations for
Reopening Healthcare Facilities Closed due to Extensive
Water and Wind Damage (83), and
• Check List for Infection Control Concerns when Reopening Healthcare Facilities Closed due to Extensive Water
and Wind Damage (84).
Use of Environmental Controls
Examples of environmental controls include isolation or
containment of the contaminated area, ventilation of the area,
and suppression of dust in the area (e.g., by wet-mopping the
mold-contaminated surfaces to reduce airborne mold concentrations). Certain methods of isolation can be used to
minimize mold exposure. For example, workers operating
heavy equipment during the demolition and removal of moldcontaminated materials can be isolated in sealed, positive-pressure, air-conditioned cabs that contain filtered air recirculation
units. Another method of isolation is sealing off of moldremediation areas in occupied, mold-contaminated buildings.
However, such isolated areas must also be adequately
ventilated.
Preventing the creation of dust and limiting exposure to
dust are essential to minimizing exposure to mold. When
cleaning up dust, workers should use wet mops or vacuums
with HEPA filters instead of dry sweeping.
Use of PPE
Respirators
Inhalation is the primary exposure route of concern related
to mold for workers, homeowners, and building occupants.
Environmental controls are sometimes inadequate to control
airborne exposure to mold or dust containing mold. In such
cases, respirators protect persons from inhaling airborne contaminated dust and other particulates released during dustgenerating processes (e.g., clean-up or debris removal).
Recommendations on when to wear a respirator depend on
the severity of mold contamination, whether the person’s activity is such that mold or particles containing endotoxin or
other microbial agents are likely to be released into the air,
and the person’s health status (Table 1).
The following recommendations are made with the assumption that extensive mold contamination is present.
Respiratory Protection
Recommendations for use of respirators in include:
• Healthy persons who are in a building for a short time or
who are in a place where activity minimally disturbs contaminated material might not need a respirator (Table 1).
Click anywhere in the top portion of this page for updated/expanded articles on mold and other environmental
problem inspection, diagnosis, testing, remediation, and prevention articles online at InspectAPedia.com
Vol. 55 / RR-8
Recommendations and Reports
• Persons engaged in activities that moderately disturb
contaminated material (e.g., light cleaning by removing
mold from surfaces with a wet mop or cloth) and persons
with health conditions that place them at risk for moldrelated health problems should use at least an N-95 respirator that is certified by NIOSH.
• Persons doing remediation work that involves extensive
exposure to mold should have respiratory protection
greater than that provided by a NIOSH-certified N-95
respirator. Full face-piece respirators that have NIOSHcertified N100, R100, P100 particulate filters are recommended. For powered air-purifying respirators, a HEPA
filter is recommended.
— Respirator selection is made after considering the characteristics of the work activities; the specific exposures
of concern; and the protection factors, advantages, and
disadvantages of various respirators.
— The determination of whether a person will have extensive exposure to mold should be based on several
factors, including the size of the mold-contaminated
area, the type of mold-contaminated material, and the
activities being performed. Guidelines based solely on
area of contamination define extensive contamination
as being >100 square feet.
— Formal fit testing is recommended for anyone engaging in remediation work causing extensive exposure
to mold.
Guidelines for respiratory protection use:
• Respirators must fit well and be worn correctly.
• NIOSH tests and certifies respirators for use by workers
to protect against workplace hazards. Respirators certified by NIOSH have “NIOSH Approved” written on
them and have a label that identifies the hazard the respirators protect against.
• The N-95 respirator is approved only as protection against
particulates (including dust) and will not protect persons
from vapors or gases such as carbon monoxide.
23
chemical and physical hazards. Consequently, appropriate
personal protective clothing, either reusable or disposable, is
recommended to minimize cross-contamination between work
areas and clean areas, to prevent the transfer and spread of
mold and other contaminants to street clothing, and to eliminate skin contact with mold and chemicals. In hot climates,
wearing protective clothing might increase risk for dehydration or heat stress, and special precautions to avoid these conditions (e.g., drink plenty of water) might be needed.
Hygiene
Disposable PPE should be discarded after it is used. Such
equipment should be placed into impermeable bags and usually can be discarded as ordinary construction waste. Appropriate precautions and protective equipment for biocide
applicators should be selected on the basis of the product
manufacturer’s warnings and recommendations (e.g., goggles
or face shield, aprons or other protective clothing, gloves, and
respiratory protection). Reusable protective clothing should
be cleaned according to the manufacturers’ recommendations
after the product has been exposed to mold. Hands should be
washed with clean potable water and soap after gloves are
removed.
General Distribution of PPE
Health officials should consider whether their agencies
should supply PPE to residents who might not otherwise be
able to acquire the necessary equipment. Providing PPE to
the local population would require substantial resources and
a mechanism for distributing them.
Clean-up
Mold-Contaminated Areas
• Items that have soaked up water and that cannot be cleaned
and dried should be removed from the area and discarded.
• Dehumidifiers and fans blowing outwards towards open
doors and windows can be used to remove moisture.
Eye Protection and Protective Clothing
Mold Removal
Eye protection is warranted for workers cleaning up moldcontaminated areas and for persons with health conditions
that place them at high health risk (Table 1). To protect eyes,
a full face-piece respirator or properly fitted goggles designed
to prevent the entry of dust and small particles should be
used. Safety glasses or goggles with open vent holes are not
appropriate during mold remediation. The CDC/NIOSH
publication Eye Safety: Emergency Response and Disaster Recovery, provides further information on this topic (35).
While conducting building inspections and remediation
work, persons might encounter hazardous biologic agents and
The procedure to remove mold from hard surfaces that do
not soak up water (i.e., nonporous) is as follows:
• Mix 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water.
• Wash the item with the bleach mixture.
• Scrub rough surfaces with a stiff brush.
• Rinse the item with clean water.
• Dry the item, or leave it to dry.
Click anywhere in the top portion of this page for updated/expanded articles on mold and other environmental
problem inspection, diagnosis, testing, remediation, and prevention articles online at InspectAPedia.com
24
MMWR
Cleaning Hard Surfaces That Do Not Soak Up Water
The procedure to prevent mold growth on hard surfaces
that do not soak up water is as follows:
• Wash the surfaces with soap and clean water.
• Disinfect them with a mixture of 1 cup of bleach in 5
gallons of water.
• Allow to air dry.
Additional Safety Guidelines for Mold Clean-up
Persons cleaning moldy or potentially moldy surfaces
should:
• Wear rubber boots, rubber gloves, and goggles when cleaning with bleach.
• Open windows and doors to get fresh air.
• Never mix bleach and ammonia because the fumes from
the mixture can be fatal.
Health-Outcome Surveillance and Follow Up
State and local public health agencies do not generally collect information on the conditions related to mold exposure.
In situations where there are large numbers of flooded and
mold-contaminated buildings, such as occurred in New Orleans after hurricanes Katrina and Rita in fall of 2005 (2), the
repopulation of those once-flooded areas probably will expose a large number of persons to potentially hazardous levels
of mold and other microbial agents.
Efforts to determine the health effects of these exposures
and the effectiveness of recommendations to prevent these
adverse health effects require a surveillance strategy. Developing such a strategy requires that federal and local health agencies work together to monitor trends in the incidence or
prevalence of mold-related conditions throughout the recovery period.
Monitoring trends in health outcomes that might be related to mold exposure will require substantial human and
financial resources and will face several challenges. Health
outcomes that might be attributed to mold exposure fall into
several broad categories. Some potential health outcomes are
rare, difficult to diagnose, and relatively specific for fungal
exposure (e.g., blastomycosis). Other health outcomes are relatively easy to diagnose, but they have numerous etiologic factors and are difficult to attribute specifically to mold exposure
(e.g., asthma exacerbations). Tracking different health outcomes that might be caused by mold exposure requires different surveillance methods. In some cases, follow-up research
will be needed to verify that surveillance findings and health
outcomes are the result of mold exposure. For some conditions, difficulties in interpreting trends and in relating the
outcome to mold exposure might suggest that surveillance is
not an appropriate public health approach.
June 9, 2006
Results of surveillance and follow-up activities will help
CDC refine the guidelines for exposure avoidance, personal
protection, and clean-up. In addition, these activities should
assist health departments to identify unrecognized hazards.
Surveillance
Public health agencies should consider collecting health
outcome information from health-care facilities to monitor
the incidence or prevalence of selected conditions. State or
local agencies should determine the feasibility of this approach
and consider the required resources available or attainable to
accomplish this goal. Institutions from which data could be
collected include hospitals, emergency departments, clinics
and, for some outcomes, specific subspecialty providers. Surveillance will require the establishment of case definitions and
reporting sources; development of reporting mechanisms;
training of data providers; and the collection, analysis, and
reporting of data. The surveillance data should be used to
identify increases in disease that are substantial enough to trigger public health interventions or follow-up investigations to
learn the reason for the increase and establish targeted prevention strategies.
Public health agencies should consider the need for clinicians to report cases of known or suspected mold-associated
illnesses (e.g., invasive fungal disease, blastomycosis, hypersensitivity pneumonitis attributed to mold contamination,
ODTS attributed to contaminated dust exposure, and alveolar hemorrhage in infants) to public health authorities for
tracking and follow-up investigations. Providers caring for
patients at high risk for poor health outcomes related to mold
exposure could be targeted. For example, hematologists,
rheumatologists, and pulmonologists might care for many
patients at risk for invasive mold infections because of underlying malignancies and immunosuppression. Enhancing provider-based surveillance requires targeting and educating
providers; developing reporting mechanisms; and collecting,
analyzing, and reporting data.
Public health agencies should consider the need for establishing laboratory-based surveillance as an efficient method
for monitoring mold-related illnesses that involve laboratory
analyses (e.g., invasive fungal disease, blastomycosis, invasive
aspergillosis, histoplasmosis, Aspergillus preceptins,
zygomycosis, and fusariosis).
Clinical Care
Health-care providers should be alert for unusual moldrelated diseases that might occur (e.g., hypersensitivity pneumonitis, ODTS, and blastomycosis). Otherwise, such diseases
might not be recognized. Scientific evidence is insufficient to
support the routine clinical use of immunodiagnostic tests as
Click anywhere in the top portion of this page for updated/expanded articles on mold and other environmental
problem inspection, diagnosis, testing, remediation, and prevention articles online at InspectAPedia.com
Vol. 55 / RR-8
Recommendations and Reports
a primary means of assessing environmental fungal exposure
or health effects related to fungal exposure. Health-care providers who care for persons who are concerned about the relation between their symptoms and exposure to fungi are
advised to use immunodiagnostic test results with care and
only in combination with other clinical information, including history, physical examination, and other laboratory data.
If appropriate allergy prick skin testing reagents or in vitro
tests for serum specific IgE are available, they can be used to
show specific IgE-sensitization to causative allergens. Unfortunately, skin testing reagents and blood tests documenting
IgE-sensitization to molds are, with few exceptions, poorly
standardized and of unclear sensitivity and specificity. The
conventional hierarchy of treatment for allergic diseases includes avoidance of exposure to inciting agents, pharmacotherapy and, as a last resort, allergen immunotherapy.
Immunotherapy with fungal allergenic extracts is, with a few
exceptions, of unknown efficacy. Clinicians should report cases
of mold-induced illness to local health authorities to assist in
surveillance efforts.
Acknowledgments
Athena Gemella, MS, coordinated the external review of the
document; Marissa Scalia, MPH, and Allison Stock, PhD, provided
background and resource materials for the document, National
Center for Environmental Health. Kay Kreiss, MD, provided input
and feedback during the development of the document, National
Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
References
1. CDC. Health concerns associated with mold in water-damaged homes
after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita—New Orleans, Louisiana, October
2005. MMWR 2006;55:41–4.
2. CDC. Morbidity and mortality associated with Hurricane Floyd—
North Carolina. MMWR 2000;49:369–72.
3. Stock AL, Davis K, Brown CM, et al. An investigation of home dampness and adverse health effects on a Native American reservation. J Soc
Toxicol 2005;84:1–5.
4. CDC. Mold: prevention strategies and possible health effects in the
aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Atlanta: US Department of
Health and Human Services, CDC; 2005. Available at http://
www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/mold/report/respiratorypub.asp
5. Brandt ME, Warnock DW. Laboratory aspects of medical mycology.
In: Dismukes WE, Pappas PG, Sobel JD, eds. Clinical Mycology. New
York, NY: Oxford University Press; 2003:1–22.
6. Institute of Medicine, Committee on Damp Indoor Spaces and Health.
Damp indoor spaces and health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2004.
7. Fischer G, Dott W. Relevance of airborne fungi and their secondary
metabolites for environmental, occupational and indoor hygiene. Arch
Microbiol 2003;179:75–82.
8. Doll SC. Determination of limiting factors for fungal growth in the
built environment. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University School of
Public Health; 2002.
25
9. CDC. NIOSH Hazard Based Interim Guidelines: protective equipment for workers in hurricane flood response. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC. Available at http://
www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/flood/pe-workers.html.
10. CDC. Protect yourself from chemicals released during a natural disaster. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC.
Available at http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/chemicals.asp.
11. Bennett JE. Introduction to mycoses. In: Mandell, Bennett, and Dolin,
eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases, 6th ed. Philadelphia: PA: Churchill Livingstone; 2005.
12. Douwes J. (1→3)-ß-D-glucans and respiratory health: a review of the
scientific evidence Indoor Air 2005;15:160–9.
13. Fink JN, Ortega HG, Reynolds HY, et al. Needs and opportunities for
research in hypersensitivity pneumonitis. Am J Respir Crit Care Med
2005;171:792–8.
14. Fung F, Clark R. Health effects of mycotoxins: a toxicological overview. J Toxicol 2004; 42:217–34.
15. US Environmental Protection Agency. Mold remediation in schools
and commercial buildings. Washington, DC; 2001. Available at
http://www.epa.gov/iaq/molds/mold_remediation.html.
16. US Environmental Protection Agency. A brief guide to mold, moisture, and your home. Washington, DC: US Environmental Protection
Agency; 2002. Available at http://www.epa.gov/iaq/molds/
moldguide.html.
17. American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists.
Bioaerosols assessment and control. Cincinnati, OH: American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists; 1999.
18. New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Guidelines
on assessment and remediation of fungi in indoor environments. New
York, NY: Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; 2005. Available
at http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/epi/moldrpt1.shtml#enviro.
19. California Department of Health Services. Mold in my home: what
do I do? Indoor air quality info sheet. Sacramento, CA: California
Department of Health Services; 2001. Available at http://www.caliaq.org/mold0107.htm.
20. US Environmental Protection Agency. Should you have the air ducts
in Your home cleaned? Washington, DC: US Environmental Protection Agency; 1997. Available at http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/
airduct.html.
21. CDC. NIOSH Interim recommendations for the cleaning and
remediation of flood-contaminated HVAC systems: a guide for building owners and managers. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health
and Human Services, CDC; 2005. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/
niosh/topics/flood/pdfs/Cleaning-Flood-HVAC.pdf.
22. US Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine. Mold.
Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD: US Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine; 2002. Available at http://chppmwww.apgea.army.mil/mold/TG278.pdf.
23. US Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration. A brief guide to mold in the workplace. Washington, DC: US
Department of Labor; 2005. Available at http://www.osha.gov/dts/
shib/shib101003.html.
24. Trout D, Seltzer JM, Page EH, et al. Use of immunoassays in assessing
exposure to fungi and potential health effects related to fungal exposure. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 2004;2:483–92.
25. CDC. State of the science on molds and human health. Atlanta, GA:
US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2002. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/mold/pdfs/moldsci.pdf.
Click anywhere in the top portion of this page for updated/expanded articles on mold and other environmental
problem inspection, diagnosis, testing, remediation, and prevention articles online at InspectAPedia.com
26
MMWR
26. CDC. Clean up safely after a natural disaster. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2005. Available at
http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/cleanup.asp.
27. CDC. Reentering your flooded home. Atlanta, GA: US Department
of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2005.Available at http://
www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/mold/reenter.asp.
28. CDC. Prevention and remediation strategies for the control and removal of fungal growth. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and
Human Services, CDC; 2005. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/mold/
strats_fungal_growth.htm.
29. CDC. Protect yourself from mold. Atlanta, GA: US Department of
Health and Human Services, CDC; 2005. Available at http://
www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/mold/protect.asp.
30. American Red Cross and Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Repairing your flooded home. Available at http://www.redcross.org/
static/file_cont333_lang0_150.pdf.
31. Cole EC, Cook CE. Characterization of infectious aerosols in health
care facilities: an aid to effective engineering controls and preventive
strategies. Am J Infect Control 1998;26:453–64.
32. CDC. Update: NIOSH warns of hazards of flood cleanup work. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC;
1997. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/flood.html.
33. National Clearinghouse for Worker Safety and Health Training. Guidelines for the Protection and Training of Workers Engaged in Maintenance and Remediation Work Associated with Mold. Washington, DC;
2005. Available at http://www.wetp.org.
34. CDC. NIOSH alert: preventing allergic reactions to natural rubber
latex in the workplace, June 1997. Atlanta, GA: US Department of
Health and Human Services, CDC; 1997. Available at http://
www.cdc.gov/niosh/latexalt.html.
35. CDC. Eye safety: emergency response and disaster recovery. Atlanta,
GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2001.
Available at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/eyesafe.html.
36. CDC. Suggested respirator cleaning and sanitation procedures. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC;
2001. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/respcln.html.
37. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Respiratory protection. Washington, DC: US Department of Labor; 1998. Available at
http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?
p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=12716.
38. Lenhart SW, Seitz T, Trout D, Bollinger N. Issues affecting respirator
selection for workers exposed to infectious aerosols: emphasis on
healthcare settings. Applied Biosafety 2004;9:20–36.
39. CDC. Histoplasmosis: protecting workers at risk. Atlanta, GA: US
Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2004. Available at
http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2005-109.
40. CDC. Safety and health topic: respirators. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2004. Available at
http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/topics/respirators.
41. CDC. What you should know in deciding whether to buy escape hoods,
gas masks, or other respirators for preparedness at home and work.
Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC;
2004. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/topics/respirators/
factsheets/respfact.html.
42. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. A brief guide to mold
in the workplace. Washington, DC: US Department of Labor; 2003.
Available at http://www.osha.gov/dts/shib/shib101003.html.
June 9, 2006
43. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Safety and health topics: respiratory protection. Washington, DC: US Department of Labor;
2003. Available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/respiratoryprotection/
index.html.
44. Institute of Medicine. Clearing the air: asthma and indoor air exposures. Washington, DC: National Academies Press; 2000.
45. Institute of Medicine. Indoor allergens: assessing and controlling adverse health effects. Washington, DC: National Academies Press; 1993.
46. Falkinham JO III. Mycobacterial aerosols and respiratory disease. Emerg
Infect Dis 2003. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/
vol9no7/02-0415.htm.
47. Adkinson NF Jr., Yunginger JW, Busse WW, Bochner BS, Holgate ST,
Simons FER. Middleton’s allergy: principles and practice, 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby; 2003.
48. Adelman C, Casale T, Corren J. Manual of Allergy and Immunology,
4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins; 2002.
49. Bierman C, Pearlman O, Shapiro G, Busse W. Allergy, Asthma, and
Immunology from Infancy to Adulthood, 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA.
WB Saunders Company; 1996.
50. Katz M, Despommier D, Gwadz R. Parasitic diseases, 2nd ed. New
York, NY: Springer-Verlag; 1989.
51. CDC. Medical care of ill hurricane evacuees: additional diagnoses to
consider. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2005. Available at http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/katrina/medcare.asp.
52. Dismukes WE, Pappas PG, Sobel JD. Clinical Mycology. New York,
NY: Oxford University Press; 2003.
53. Richardson MD, Warnock DW. Fungal infection-diagnosis and management, 3rd ed. Malden, MA: Blackwell; 1997.
54. Perfect JR. Weird fungi. ASM News 2005;71:407–11.
55. Brandt ME, Warnock DW. Epidemiology, clinical manifestations, and
therapy of infections caused by dematiaceous fungi. J Chemother
2003;15:36–47.
56. Torres HA, Raad II, Kontoyiannis DP. Infections caused by Fusarium
species. J Chemother 2003;15:28–35.
57. Horre R, de Hoog GS. Primary cerebral infections by melanized fungi:
a review. Studies in Mycology 1999;43:176–93.
58. Steinbach WJ, Perfect JR. Scedosporium species infections and treatments. J Chemother 2003;15:16–7.
59. Bennett JW, Klich M. Mycotoxins. Clin Microbiol Rev 2003;16:
497–516.
60. Storey E, Dangman KH, Schenck P, et al. Guidance for clinicians on the
recognition and management of health effects related to mold exposure
and moisture indoors. Farmington, CT: Center for Indoor Environments
and Health, University of Connecticut Health Center; 2004. Available
at http://oehc.uchc.edu/clinser/MOLD%20GUIDE.pdf.
61. Schleibinger H, Laussmann D, Brattig C, Mangler M, Eis D, Ruden
H. Emission patterns and emission rates of MVOC and the possibility
for predicting hidden mold damage. Indoor Air 2005;15:98–104.
62. National Institutes of Health. National Asthma Education and Prevention Program Expert Panel Report 2: Guidelines for the diagnosis
and management of asthma. Bethesda, MD: US Department of Health
and Human Services; 1997. Available at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/
guidelines/asthma/asthgdln.htm.
Click anywhere in the top portion of this page for updated/expanded articles on mold and other environmental
problem inspection, diagnosis, testing, remediation, and prevention articles online at InspectAPedia.com
Vol. 55 / RR-8
Recommendations and Reports
63. National Institutes of Health. National Asthma Education and Prevention Program Expert Panel Report: Guidelines for the Diagnosis
and Management of Asthma—update on selected topics. Bethesda,
MD: US Department of Health and Human Services; 2002. Available
at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/asthma/asthmafullrpt.pdf.
64. Schuyler M, Cormier Y. The diagnosis of hypersensitivity pneumonitis. Chest 1997;111:534–6.
65. Richardson HB, Bernstein IL, Fink JN, et al. Guidelines for the clinical evaluation of hypersensitivity pneumonitis: report on the subcommittee on hypersensitivity pneumonitis. J Allergy Clin Immunol
1989;84:839–44.
66. Lacasse Y, Moises S, Ulrich C, et al. Clinical diagnosis of hypersensitivity pneumonitis. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2003;168:952–8.
67. Von Essen S, Robbins RA, Thompson AB, Rennard SI. Organic dust
toxic syndrome: an acute febrile reaction to organic dust exposure distinct from hypersensitivity pneumonitis. Toxicol 1990;28:389–420.
68. Seifert SA, Von Essen S, Jacobitz K, Crouch R, Lintner CP. Organic
dust toxic syndrome: a review. J Toxicol Clin Toxicol 2003;15:185–93.
69. CDC. Request for assistance in preventing organic dust toxic syndrome.
Cincinnati, OH: US Department of Health and Human Services,
CDC; 1994 (DHHS NIOSH publication no. 94-102).
70. CDC. Update: pulmonary hemorrhage/hemosiderosis among infants—
Cleveland, Ohio, 1993–1996. MMWR 1997;46:33–5.
71. CDC. Update: pulmonary hemorrhage/hemosiderosis among infants—
Cleveland, Ohio, 1993–1996. MMWR 2000;49:180–4.
72. Kendrick B. The fifth kingdom, 2nd ed. Waterloo, Ontario, Canada:
Mycologue Publications; 1992.
73. Croft WA, Jarvis BB, Yatawara CS. Airborne outbreak of trichothecene
toxicosis. Atmospheric Environment 1986;20:549–52.
74. Hintikka EL. Human stachybotryotoxicosis. In: Mycotoxic fungi,
mycotoxins and mycotoxicosis. Wyllie TD, Morehouse LG, eds. New
York, NY: Marcel Dekker; 1978.
27
75. Land KJ, Hult K, Fuchs R, Hagelberg S, Lundstrom H. Tremorgenic
mycotoxins from Aspergillus fumigatus as a possible occupational health
problem in sawmills. Appl Environ Microbiol 1987;53:787–90.
76. Samsonov PF. Respiratory mycotoxicoses (pneumonomycotoxicoses).
In: Bilay VI, ed. Mycotoxicosis of man and agricultural animals. Washington, DC: US Joint Publications Research Service; 1960.
77. Andresen D, Donaldson A, Choo L, et al. Multifocal cutaneous mucormycosis complicating polymicrobial wound infections in a tsunami
survivor from Sri Lanka. Lancet 2005;365:876–8.
78. Ibrahim A, Edwards J, Filler S. Zygomycoses. In: Dismukes WE, Pappas
PG, Sobel JD, eds. Clinical Mycology. New York, NY: Oxford University Press; 2003.
79. CDC. Guidelines for environmental infection control in health-care
facilities. MMWR 2003;52(No. RR-10).
80. CDC. Guidelines for preventing opportunistic infections among hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients. MMWR 2000;49(No. RR-10).
81. Lowry P, Kelso K, McFarland L. Blastomycosis in Washington Parish,
Louisiana, 1976–1985. Am J Epidemiol 1989;130:151–9.
82. Heyman DL. Control of Communicable Disease Manual, 18th ed.
Washington, DC: American Public Health Association; 2000.
83. CDC. Remediation and infection control considerations for reopening healthcare facilities closed due to extensive water and wind damage. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services,
CDC; 2005. Available at http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/
katrina/reopen_healthfacilities.asp.
84. CDC. Check list for infection control concerns when reopening
healthcare facilities closed due to extensive water and wind damage.
Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC;
2005. Available at http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/katrina/
reopen_healthfacilities_checklist.asp.
Click anywhere in the top portion of this page for updated/expanded articles on mold and other environmental
problem inspection, diagnosis, testing, remediation, and prevention articles online at InspectAPedia.com
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
Recommendations and Reports
June 9, 2006 / Vol. 55 / No. RR-8
Continuing Education Activity Sponsored by CDC
Mold Prevention Strategies and Possible Health Effects
in the Aftermath of Hurricanes and Major Floods
EXPIRATION — June 9, 2009
You must complete and return the response form electronically or by mail by
June 9, 2009, to receive continuing education credit. If you answer all of the
questions, you will receive an award letter for 2.5 hours Continuing Medical
Education (CME) credit; 0.25 Continuing Education Units (CEUs); or 3.0
contact hours Continuing Nursing Education (CNE) credit. If you return the
form electronically, you will receive educational credit immediately. If you mail
the form, you will receive educational credit in approximately 30 days. No fees are
charged for participating in this continuing education activity.
INSTRUCTIONS
By Internet
1. Read this MMWR (Vol. 55, RR-8), which contains the correct answers to
the questions beginning on the next page.
2. Go to the MMWR Continuing Education Internet site at http://www.cdc.
gov/mmwr/cme/conted.html.
3. Select which exam you want to take and select whether you want to register
for CME, CEU, or CNE credit.
4. Fill out and submit the registration form.
5. Select exam questions. To receive continuing education credit, you must
answer all of the questions. Questions with more than one correct answer
will instruct you to “Indicate all that apply.”
6. Submit your answers no later than June 9, 2009.
7. Immediately print your Certificate of Completion for your records.
By Mail or Fax
1. Read this MMWR (Vol. 55, RR-8), which contains the correct answers to
the questions beginning on the next page.
2. Complete all registration information on the response form, including your
name, mailing address, phone number, and e-mail address, if available.
3. Indicate whether you are registering for CME, CEU, or CNE credit.
4. Select your answers to the questions, and mark the corresponding letters on
the response form. To receive continuing education credit, you must
answer all of the questions. Questions with more than one correct answer
will instruct you to “Indicate all that apply.”
5. Sign and date the response form or a photocopy of the form and send no
later than June 9, 2009, to
Fax: 404-498-2388
Mail: MMWR CE Credit
Division of Scientific Communications
Coordinating Center for Health Information and Service, MS E-90
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Rd, N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30333
6. Your Certificate of Completion will be mailed to you within 30 days.
ACCREDITATION
Continuing Medical Education (CME). CDC is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing
medical education for physicians. CDC designates this educational activity for a maximum of 2.5 hours in category 1 credit toward the AMA Physician’s
Recognition Award. Each physician should claim only those hours of credit that he/she actually spent in the educational activity.
Continuing Education Unit (CEU). CDC has been approved as an authorized provider of continuing education and training programs by the International
Association for Continuing Education and Training. CDC will award 0.25 continuing education units to participants who successfully complete this activity.
Continuing Nursing Education (CNE). This activity for 3.0 contact hours is provided by CDC, which is accredited as a provider of continuing education
in nursing by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.
depar
tment of health and human ser
vices
department
services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Click anywhere in the top portion of this page for updated/expanded articles on mold and other environmental
problem inspection, diagnosis, testing, remediation, and prevention articles online at InspectAPedia.com
CE-2
MMWR
June 9, 2006
Goal and Objectives
This report presents recommendations that were developed in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita that should be useful to public health practitioners, healthcare providers, building managers, and others who are responsible for buildings in situations in which exposure to mold is an issue. The goal of this report is to provide
information on which to base decisions on how to limit exposure to mold contaminated buildings and how to identify and prevent mold-related health effects, which
might result after extensive water damage following major hurricanes or floods. Upon completion of this educational activity, the reader should be able to 1) describe
the factors that promote mold growth; 2) describe the most appropriate means of assessing exposure to mold; 3) describe the remediation steps used to clean up mold
growth based on the degree of contamination; 4) describe the role of personal protective equipment in minimizing exposure to mold; and 5) describe the most
common health effects from exposure to mold.
To receive continuing education credit, please answer all of the following questions.
1. Molds can be found almost anywhere and need moisture and
nutrients to grow.
A. True.
B. False.
2. What is generally the most important step in identifying a possible
mold contamination problem?
A. Air sampling.
B. Use of polymerase chain reaction techniques.
C. Visual inspection.
D. Sending bulk samples of building material to a microbiology
laboratory.
3. What type of materials will probably need to be discarded if they are
contaminated with mold or mold spores?
A. Hard, nonporous items (e.g., dishes or glass).
B. Hard plastic materials.
C. Porous items such as mattresses, stuffed toys, wallboard, or fiberglass
insulation.
D. Flooring material such as linoleum or tile.
4. It is important to clean and inspect all parts of the heating, ventilating,
and air conditioning system before use.
A. True.
B. False.
5. Personal protective equipment (e.g., protective clothing, gloves, or
respirators) should be used as a first step in minimizing exposure to
mold instead of administrative controls (e.g., prompt identification of
mold-contaminated areas and minimizing aerosol generating
activities in those areas) and engineering controls (e.g., adequate
ventilation in mold-contaminated areas).
A. True.
B. False.
6.
Which of the following factors is/are important in determining the
potential for airborne exposure to mold?
A. The size of the contaminated area.
B. Activities such as remediation or construction being performed in or
around the contaminated area.
C. The amount of fresh air in the area where mold contamination is
found.
D. All of the above.
7. Fungi are known to produce adverse health effects by four distinct
mechanisms. Which of the following mechanisms of adverse health
effects related to fungal exposure is the most commonly occurring
among immunocompetent persons and of the greatest clinical
relevance in most clinical settings?
A. Infection.
B. Immunologic hypersensitivity.
C. Toxic reactions.
D. Irritant reactions.
E. A and C.
8. Which of the following is/are true:
A. Detection of immunoglobulin G to specific fungi can be used as a
marker of exposure to potential causes of illnesses such as
hypersensitivity pneumonitis.
B. Testing to determine the presence of immunoglobulin E to specific
fungi is often a useful component of a complete clinical evaluation in
the diagnosis of health complaints that might be caused by immediate
hypersensitivity.
C. The presence of antibodies against a mycotoxin-producing fungus is
evidence that the patient has experienced a toxic reaction to that
fungus.
D. Antibody-based immunoassays can routinely be used by themselves as
a primary means of determining the presence or absence of clinically
relevant fungi-related health effect.
E. A, B, C, and D.
F. A and B.
9. Pulmonary fungal infections can be transmitted from person to
person.
A. True.
B. False.
10. Methods for preventing exposure to mold include…
A. avoiding areas thought to be mold-contaminated.
B. using environmental controls.
C. using personal protective equipment.
D. employing strict personal hygiene.
E. all of the above.
F. none of the above.
11. Which best describes your professional activities:
A. Physician.
B. Nurse.
C. Health educator.
D. Office staff.
E. Other.
12. I plan to use these recommendations as the basis for …(Indicate all
that apply.)
A. health education materials.
B. insurance reimbursement policies.
C. local practice guidelines.
D. public policy.
E. other.
13. Overall, the length of the journal report was…
A. much too long.
B. a little too long.
C. just right.
D. a little too short.
E. much too short.
Click anywhere in the top portion of this page for updated/expanded articles on mold and other environmental
problem inspection, diagnosis, testing, remediation, and prevention articles online at InspectAPedia.com
Vol. 55 / No. RR-8
Recommendations and Reports
CE-3
14. After reading this report, I am confident I can describe the factors that
promote mold growth.
A. Strongly agree.
B. Agree.
C. Undecided.
D. Disagree.
E. Strongly disagree.
18. After reading this report, I am confident I can describe the most
common health effects from exposure to mold.
A. Strongly agree.
B. Agree.
C. Undecided.
D. Disagree.
E. Strongly disagree.
15. After reading this report, I am confident I can describe the most
appropriate means of assessing exposure to mold.
A. Strongly agree.
B. Agree.
C. Undecided.
D. Disagree.
E. Strongly disagree.
19. The learning outcomes (objectives) were relevant to the goals of this
report.
A. Strongly agree.
B. Agree.
C. Undecided.
D. Disagree.
E. Strongly disagree.
16. After reading this report, I am confident I can describe the
remediation steps used to clean up mold growth based on the degree
of contamination.
A. Strongly agree.
B. Agree.
C. Undecided.
D. Disagree.
E. Strongly disagree.
20. The instructional strategies used in this report (text and tables) helped
me learn the material.
A. Strongly agree.
B. Agree.
C. Undecided.
D. Disagree.
E. Strongly disagree.
21. The content was appropriate given the stated objectives of the report.
A. Strongly agree.
B. Agree.
C. Undecided.
D. Disagree.
E. Strongly disagree.
17. After reading this report, I am confident I can describe the role of
personal protective equipment in minimizing exposure to mold.
A. Strongly agree.
B. Agree.
C. Undecided.
D. Disagree.
E. Strongly disagree.
(Continued on pg CE-4)
Date I Completed Exam
[ ]C [ ]D [ ]E [ ]F
]E
]E
]E
]E
]E
]E
]E
]E
]E
]E
]E
]E
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
]D
]D
]D
]D
]D
]D
]D
]D
]D
]D
]D
]D
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
]C
]C
]C
]C
]C
]C
]C
]C
]C
]C
]C
]C
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
]B
]B
]B
]B
]B
]B
]B
]B
]B
]B
]B
]B
]B
]B
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
]A
]A
]A
]A
]A
]A
]A
]A
]A
]A
]A
]A
]A
]A
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
]E [ ]F
]E
]E
]E
]E
[
[
[
[
[
]D
]D
]D
]D
]D
[
[
[
[
[
]C
]C
]C
]C
]C
[
[
[
[
[
[ ]C [ ]D
[ ]C [ ]D [ ]E
[ ]C [ ]D [ ]E [ ]F
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.
21.
22.
23.
24.
25.
26.
27.
28.
[ ]C [ ]D
[ ]C [ ]D
Signature
]B
]B
]B
]B
]B
]B
]B
]B
]B
]B
]B
]B
]B
]B
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
]A
]A
]A
]A
]A
]A
]A
]A
]A
]A
]A
]A
]A
]A
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
[
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
E-Mail Address
Fill in the appropriate blocks to indicate your answers. Remember, you must answer all
of the questions to receive continuing education credit!
Fax Number
Phone Number
ZIP Code
State
Apartment
Street Address or P.O. Box
or
City
Suite
Check One
CME Credit
CME for
nonphysicians
Credit
CEU Credit
CNE Credit
First Name
Last Name (print or type)
To receive continuing education credit, you must
1. provide your contact information (please print or type);
2. indicate your choice of CME, CME for nonphysicians, CEU, or CNE credit;
3. answer all of the test questions;
4. sign and date this form or a photocopy;
5. submit your answer form by June 9, 2009.
Failure to complete these items can result in a delay or rejection of your application
for continuing education credit.
Mold Prevention Strategies and Possible Health Effects
in the Aftermath of Hurricanes and Major Floods
MMWR Response Form for Continuing Education Credit
June 9, 2006/Vol. 55/No. RR-8
Detach or photocopy.
Click anywhere in the top portion of this page for updated/expanded articles on mold and other environmental
problem inspection, diagnosis, testing, remediation, and prevention articles online at InspectAPedia.com
CE-4
MMWR
June 9, 2006
22. The content expert(s) demonstrated expertise in the subject matter.
A. Strongly agree.
B. Agree.
C. Undecided.
D. Disagree.
E. Strongly disagree.
26. The MMWR format was conducive to learning this content.
A. Strongly agree.
B. Agree.
C. Undecided.
D. Disagree.
E. Strongly disagree.
23. Overall, the quality of the journal report was excellent.
A. Strongly agree.
B. Agree.
C. Undecided.
D. Disagree.
E. Strongly disagree.
27. Do you feel this course was commercially biased? (Indicate yes or no;
if yes, please explain in the space provided.)
A. Yes.
B. No.
24. These recommendations will improve the quality of my practice.
A. Strongly agree.
B. Agree.
C. Undecided.
D. Disagree.
E. Strongly disagree.
28. How did you learn about the continuing education activity?
A. Internet.
B. Advertisement (e.g., fact sheet, MMWR cover, newsletter, or journal).
C. Coworker/supervisor.
D. Conference presentation.
E. MMWR subscription.
F. Other.
25. The availability of continuing education credit influenced my decision
to read this report.
A. Strongly agree.
B. Agree.
C. Undecided.
D. Disagree.
E. Strongly disagree.
Correct answers for questions 1–10. 1. A; 2. C; 3. C; 4. A; 5. B; 6. D;
7. B; 8. F; 9. B; 10. E.
MMWR
The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) Series is prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and is available free of charge
in electronic format. To receive an electronic copy each week, send an e-mail message to [email protected] The body content should read SUBscribe mmwrtoc. Electronic copy also is available from CDC’s Internet server at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr or from CDC’s file transfer protocol server at ftp://ftp.cdc.gov/pub/
publications/mmwr. Paper copy subscriptions are available through the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC
20402; telephone 202-512-1800.
Data in the weekly MMWR are provisional, based on weekly reports to CDC by state health departments. The reporting week concludes at close of business on
Friday; compiled data on a national basis are officially released to the public on the following Friday. Data are compiled in the National Center for Public Health
Informatics, Division of Integrated Surveillance Systems and Services. Address all inquiries about the MMWR Series, including material to be considered for
publication, to Editor, MMWR Series, Mailstop E-90, CDC, 1600 Clifton Rd., N.E., Atlanta, GA 30333 or to [email protected]
All material in the MMWR Series is in the public domain and may be used and reprinted without permission; citation as to source, however, is appreciated.
Use of trade names and commercial sources is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
References to non-CDC sites on the Internet are provided as a service to MMWR readers and do not constitute or imply endorsement of these organizations or
their programs by CDC or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. CDC is not responsible for the content of these sites. URL addresses listed in
MMWR were current as of the date of publication.
✩U.S. Government Printing Office: 2006-523-056/40049 Region IV ISSN: 1057-5987
Click anywhere in the top portion of this page for updated/expanded articles on mold and other environmental
problem inspection, diagnosis, testing, remediation, and prevention articles online at InspectAPedia.com
Was this manual useful for you? yes no
Thank you for your participation!

* Your assessment is very important for improving the work of artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project

Download PDF

advertisement