Raining Mold?
Saturday, March 5, 2016
South Exhibit Hall H (Convention Center)
James J. Anderson, MLT, G. Daniel Brooks, MD FAAAAI
Rationale: The spring seasons of 2013-2015 in Omaha NE were warm and wet with frequent thunderstorms and heavy rains. The possible effect on airborne fungal spores was studied.

Methods: 24 hour Burkard spore trap samples (May-July of 2013, 2014, & 2015) were analyzed for fungal spore content. Local weather data and “weather events” obtained from NOAA for the same time period were noted.

Results: In mid-May of each year, mold spore levels rose quickly and remained high through June and July. Very high mold counts (> than 50,000 spores/M3) were also recorded during the study period: 23 (2013, 24 (2014), and 31 (2015). “Wet-weather” spora (ascospores & basidiospores) were more abundant than air dry spora (Cladosporium & Alternaria), but the latter were also well represented. Frequent rain events ranged from heavy rains to many hours of light rain or drizzle. 

Conclusions: (1) Weather can have a profound effect on the amount and type of airborne fungal spores: our NAB station recorded abundant amounts of wet-weather spora along with lesser but plentiful amounts of dry air spora from May through July, 2013-2015. In contrast, we had previously reported extraordinary amounts of Cladosporium & Alternaria spores aerosolized over a one month period when "black corn" was harvested after a severe drought. (2) Large amounts of both wet and dry air spora can be released over an extended period of time. (3) More research into ascospore and basidiospore allergy may be warranted.