Starting a National Allergy Bureau (NAB) Pollen/Mold Counting Station

NAB Mission
To promote optimal outdoor airborne pollen and mold spore data collection by advancing and ensuring standardized collection and counting for the public domain, medical profession, and scientific community through the certified pollen and mold spore counter.

Equipment

NAB stations counting molds and pollen grains operate with a volumetric air sampler, which are manufactured in England. Stations only counting pollen grains may operate with rotation impact samplers, which are manufactured in the U.S. or Canada.

The NAB has a station manual, in a PDF format, for stations operating a volumetric air sampler. Please contact Jerome Schultz to receive the manual. Review of this manual will be helpful in determining the proper placement of your volumetric air sampler and what supplies will be necessary to operate the machine.
 

Counters
The NAB has developed a certification process for counters to insure that data is collected and counted in a consistent manner for use in scientific studies. A “Counter Knowledge Base” has been developed. To be certified, the following steps must be completed:

Step 1
Before registering for the exam, a counter must present proof of completion of a hands-on aeroallergen course.

Step 2
Counters will take a 70-question multiple choice online exam. The exam has a pass rate of 80%.

This exam is based on the “Knowledge Base for Counters.”

Step 3
Pollen Certification
A counter will receive a pollen slide with instruction sheet. The slide and completed score sheet is returned to the NAB and graded. Pollen certification will be given if the pollen grains have been counted correctly.

Mold Certification
A counter will receive a mold slide with instruction sheet. The slide and completed score sheet is returned to the NAB and graded. Mold certification will be given if the spores have been counted correctly.

This process was developed with input from station directors and counters.

Hands-on training courses are offered at the AAAAI Annual Meeting. Click the annual meeting tab in the header. Programs are also offered at the ACAAI Annual Meeting. The Ochsner Clinic in New Orleans has started an annual program offered during the summer. You may get information about that program by contacting Dr. W Edward Davis at (504) 842-6742. Courses are also presented by Mike Muilenberg and Christine Rogers as outlined.

Also at the AAAAI Annual Meeting, the NAB presents a Counters Meeting, where counters gather to share ideas and concerns. This meeting includes a hand-on-demonstration of counter skills helpful to counters and station directors.

Data Reporting
Pollen and mold counts are entered by station personnel at: pollen.aaaai.org/nab. A password and username are provided to the station to gain secure access to their “station home” on the AAAAI website. This station home has an Education Center for station personnel to use for updating their skills. The AAAAI website provides a “MY NAB” service were users can have data from up to three stations sent to them each time they are updated. This website also provides three data display options that are selected by individual stations: 1) display all individual allergen counts, count totals and severity levels; 2) display count totals and severity levels; and 3) display severity levels only. NAB stations are required to report data at least three days each week.

The NAB is overseen by the NAB Operations Committee, which consists of members of the AAAAI Aerobiology Committee. The executive office staff liaison is Jerome Schultz at (414) 272-6071.

AAAAI - American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology