Quantification of house-dust-mite populations
Since the proposal that allergen from the mite Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus is identical to the house-dust allergen supposed to cause asthma and allergy, interest in the abundance, species diversity, and frequency of mites in the home has expanded. Surveys and ecologic studies have confirmed the ubiquity of mites in house dust, especially mites of the family Pyroglyphidae, but most do not give an accurate estimate of population size or mite exposure. These are still important issues today in attempts to quantify the exposure to house-dust mite that constitutes a risk, to assess mite-eradication trials, and to determine fluctuations in mite population. The problems encountered with common methods of house-dust sampling, mite extraction, and measuring house-dust allergen are discussed.