Indoor Fungal Contamination in Different Housing Types after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Flood Disaster
Yakugaku Zasshi. 2022;142(1):17-25. doi: 10.1248/yakushi.21-00161-2.
To understand fungal contamination in the indoor environments of the disaster region, surveys were conducted to detect mycoflora in temporary shelters, prefabricated temporary housing, private housing, and rented apartments in areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. The results from the surveys of temporary shelters indicated that the indoor-air fungal counts at all sampling points were less than 1000 colony forming units (cfu)/m3, which is the recommended limit for fungal contamination in indoor air. However, the Aspergillus counts were high compared to the indoor environments of typical housing. Since Aspergillus is a known allergenic genus, careful attention should be paid to residents’ health. The results of the surveys of private housing and rented apartments also indicated that fungal counts were highest during the rainy season throughout the summer. In contrast, temporary housing had a maximum fungal count in the winter. The extremely high level of fungal condensation in indoor air may have been due to the high relative humidity and loss of heat insulation in the buildings’ attics. It is thought that these problems happen most commonly in colder regions, such as the entire area affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. The case of a patient with allergic bronchopulmonary mycosis caused by a large amount of Eurotium herbariorum mold in his temporary housing was reported to demonstrate the health risks posed by fungi in this disaster region.