The study by the University of Otago in Wellington compared the homes of 150 children who had visited their GPs for a first prescription of asthma medication with those of 300 children who had never experienced the wheezing associated with asthma.

Dr Caroline Shorter said while it had long been known that damp and mould made asthma worse, this was one of the first studies to show those conditions might actually be causing the illness.

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