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Contemporary issues in food allergy: Seafood toxin-induced disease in the differential diagnosis of allergic reactions

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Seafood, including fish, shrimp, lobster, crab, crayfish, mussel, and clam are among the most frequent causes of food allergy. Seafood poisoning, including reactions to natural toxins, frequently masquerades as an allergic reaction on presentation. Ingestion of contaminated shellfish results in a wide variety of symptoms, depending on the toxins present, their concentrations in the shellfish, and the amount of contaminated shellfish consumed. Five types of shellfish poisoning have been identified clearly including paralytic, neurotoxic, diarrhetic, amnestic, and azaspiracid shellfish poisonings. Based on the presence or absence of the toxin at the time of capture, fish poisoning can be considered conceptually in two categories. In ciguatera and puffer fish poisoning, the toxin is present in live fish, whereas in scombroid, it is produced only after capture, in the fish flesh, by contaminating bacteria because of improper refrigeration. Most shellfish-associated illness is infectious in nature (bacterial or viral), with the Norwalk virus accounting for most cases of gastroenteritis.

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: May 1, 2005

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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