Background: Although the importance of cockroach allergen in chronic asthma has now been well defined, little progress has been made in the control of cockroach allergen in infested homes. Objective: The objective of this study was to examine the ability of a combination of professional pest extermination and household cleaning using a solution of sodium hypochlorite to reduce cockroach infestation and allergen levels in cockroach infested homes. Methods: Seventeen cockroach-infested homes were studied with three homes serving as controls. In the intervention homes, a professional exterminator applied 0.05% abamectin twice at 2-week intervals at study entry and a professional cleaner cleaned the homes before and after the extermination. All washable surfaces were cleaned throughout the study with a solution of 0.5% hypochlorite. Monthly home visits were conducted to inspect the home, interview the homeowner, place passive cockroach traps, and to collect settled dust samples from the kitchen, bedroom, and TV/living room. Results: The number of cockroaches in the passive traps decreased rapidly after the initial intervention in most homes. Median Blatella germanica allergen 1 levels in the settled dust samples fell by 91% in the kitchen, 78% in the bedroom, and 77% in the living room over the course of the study in the intervention homes but gradually rose in the control homes. The overall reductions were very similar to those seen in a previous study with a similar protocol except for the use of the sodium hypochlorite. Conclusions: Successful extermination is possible in most inner-city homes and cockroach allergen levels can be reduced by 80% to 90%. However, 0.5% sodium hypochlorite did not seem to improve allergen reduction, and in many homes, allergen levels remained above the proposed threshold of 8 U/g of dust throughout the study.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine