Exposure and Health Effects of Fungi on Humans.

Document Type


Publication Date



DOI: 10.1016/j.jaip.2016.01.008; PMCID: PMC4861659


Fungi are ubiquitous microorganisms that are present in outdoor and indoor environments. Previous research has found relationships between environmental fungal exposures and human health effects. We reviewed recent articles focused on fungal exposure and dampness as risk factors for respiratory disease development, symptoms, and hypersensitivity. In particular, we reviewed the evidence suggesting that early exposure to dampness or fungi is associated with the development of asthma and increased asthma morbidity. Although outdoor exposure to high concentrations of spores can cause health effects such as asthma attacks in association with thunderstorms, most people appear to be relatively unaffected unless they are sensitized to specific genera. Indoor exposure and dampness, however, appears to be associated with an increased risk of developing asthma in young children and asthma morbidity in individuals who have asthma. These are important issues because they provide a rationale for interventions that might be considered for homes and buildings in which there is increased fungal exposure. In addition to rhinitis and asthma, fungus exposure is associated with a number of other illnesses including allergic bronchopulmonary mycoses, allergic fungal sinusitis, and hypersensitivity pneumonitis. Additional research is necessary to establish causality and evaluate interventions for fungal- and dampness-related health effects.

Journal Title

J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract





First Page


Last Page


MeSH Keywords

Air Pollutants; Air Pollution, Indoor; Allergens; Environmental Exposure; Fungi; Humans; Hypersensitivity; Risk Factors


Asthma; Fungus; Health effects; Hypersensitivity; Mold

Library Record