Contamination of nebulizer equipment with cockroach allergen: there's a bug in the system!

Journal Article (Journal Article)

BACKGROUND: Physicians often have anecdotal reports of patients describing increased asthma symptoms after the use of nebulizers; however, there are few published reports of nebulizer-associated exacerbations. OBJECTIVE: To present 2 cases of asthmatic children who experienced a life-threatening exacerbation of their symptoms after nebulizer use. METHODS: Case 2's nebulizer was tested for cockroach allergen by washing the medication reservoir with 2 mL of sterile filtered 1% phosphate-buffered saline, 0.05% bovine serum albumin, and Tween 20 overnight with rotation. The patient's sealed albuterol nebulizer medication was used as a control. The control albuterol and test solutions were analyzed for Blattella germanica 1 and 2 allergens using a monoclonal antibody-based immunoenzymetric assay. RESULTS: The reservoir from case 2 was found to have measurable levels of both Bla g 1 and Bla g 2. The control albuterol solution had no measurable cockroach allergen. An insect found in the nebulizer box of case 2 was identified as an infantile German cockroach. CONCLUSIONS: Nebulizer use provides an opportunity for antigen exposure directly to small airways, which may lead to severe allergic reactions in patients using contaminated equipment.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Bollinger, ME; Wolf, B; Schwindt, C; Hamilton, RG

Published Date

  • April 2004

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 92 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 475 - 477

PubMed ID

  • 15104202

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1081-1206

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/S1081-1206(10)61786-3


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States