In areas with low house dust mite (HDM) allergen exposure, both mite sensitization and asthma prevalence are low. In most other areas, HDM allergen exposure is higher than the threshold for sensitization. In this setting, is HDM allergen exposure a factor which is causally related to the development of asthma in HDM-sensitive individuals? To answer this question, the cumulative prevalence of asthma was evaluated in a group of 157 schoolchildren, aged 10 and 11 yrs, who were allergic to HDM allergen, and compared it with HDM allergen exposure and atopic status, using univariate and multivariate analysis. HDM allergen levels were measured in mattress dust using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) method. Of mattress dust samples, 94% had an HDM allergen level >2 microg x g dust(-1). Atopy was evaluated by means of skin prick tests using five common allergens. Among the predictive variables studied by means of univariate analysis, only the number of positive skin tests and male sex correlated with asthma prevalence, but not HDM allergen exposure. Logistic regression analysis also demonstrated that the number of positive skin tests correlated with asthma prevalence (odds ratio (OR)=1.38, p=0.05), whereas the OR for HDM allergen exposure was 1.0. This survey suggests that, in a geographical area with high HDM allergen exposure, asthma prevalence is not linked with HDM allergen levels.