In August 2009, the historic Typhoon Morakot brought extreme rainfall and resulted in flooding which spread throughout southern Taiwan. This study compared the difference between fungal concentrations before and after the disaster in selected homes of the Tainan metropolitan area, which were hit hardest by the catastrophe. A group of 83 households available from a prior cohort established with random sampling out of a regional population in southern Taiwan was contacted successfully by telephone. Twenty-five of these reported to have suffered from floods of various degrees at this time. Around 2weeks after the event, at which time most of the remedial process had been completed by self-efforts and public health endeavours, 14 of these 25 (56%) agreed to participate in measurements of the airborne microbial concentrations. The averages (standard deviation) of the total culturable fungal concentrations in children's bedrooms and flooded rooms were 18,181 (25,854) colony-forming units per cubic metre (CFU/m3) and 13,440 (11,033) CFU/m3, respectively. The airborne fungal spore levels in the 2 above-mentioned indoor sites were 221,536 (169,640) spores/m3 and 201,582 (137,091) spores/m3, respectively. The average indoor/outdoor ratios in the children's bedrooms were 4.2 for culturable fungi and 1.4 for fungal spores. These values were higher than the respective values measured in the same homes during the previous year: 1.1 and 0.6. In terms of the specific fungal profile, the percentages of Aspergillus spp. increased significantly in both the indoor and outdoor environments after the event. To this date, this study is among the limited research that has been conducted to quantitatively demonstrate that fungal manifestation is likely to persist in flooded homes even after seemingly robust remedial measures have been put into place. Studies to examine the potential health implications and effectiveness of better remedial technology remain much needed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Engineering
- Environmental Chemistry
- Waste Management and Disposal