Egg allergy and influenza vaccination

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Many egg-allergic patients are unnecessarily restricted from receiving the influenza vaccine. Patients with suspected egg allergy who require seasonal or H1N1 influenza vaccination can pose a significant challenge and should be appropriately evaluated by an allergist/immunologist. In most cases, if the benefits are felt to outweigh the risks, precautionary measures are available that can enhance safe vaccine administration. A case of influenza vaccine management in a child with egg allergy is presented. Clinical characteristics, diagnostic testing, case management, and natural history are reviewed. Clinical Pearls and Pitfalls include: (1) Batch-to-batch variability of egg content in extant influenza vaccines necessitates an informed and cautious approach to vaccination of an egg-allergic individual. (2) Due to denaturation of some egg proteins through heating, tolerance of “baked egg” products may not predict tolerance of “native egg” proteins present in the influenza vaccine. (3) Intradermal skin testing with influenza vaccine diluted 1:10 may be irritating to the skin and result in false positive results. (4) If skin test to the vaccine is positive, vaccination may still be cautiously administered, if necessary, in a graded-dose protocol, as presented herein. (5) Most patients with egg allergy are likely to develop egg tolerance by late childhood.

Keywords: Anaphylaxis; H1N1; children; egg allergy; egg-specific IgE; influenza vaccine; skin test; swine flu

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Medicine The Warren Alpert School of Medicine and Brown University, Providence, RI, USA.

Publication date: November 1, 2009

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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