Effects of moisture damage and renovation on microbial conditions and pupils’ health in two schools—a longitudinal analysis of five years
Airborne microbes and pupils’ symptoms were monitored in a moisture-damaged (index) school and a reference school for five consecutive years. These surveys were carried out in two separate years before the renovation of the index school, during the renovation, and one and two years after the renovation. Microbial concentrations were higher in the index school than those in the reference school before and during renovation, but afterwards, the levels decreased to the level of the reference school. The effect of remediation was seen as an altered mycobiota in the index school. Year-to-year variation of microbial concentrations, probably due to climatic factors, caused a peak in both schools but their difference remained. Several symptoms were more prevalent in the moisture-damaged school than in the reference school, but the differences disappeared during the renovations. These results emphasize the importance of using a reference building in assessing the microbial conditions of a moisture damaged building. Furthermore, microbial concentrations reflected well the technical condition of the construction, but the reported symptoms of the occupants did not strictly follow the timely fluctuation in microbial conditions.