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Keywords:

  • anaphylaxis;
  • allergen;
  • allergic sensitization;
  • food allergy;
  • millet

Background: Millet has been reported to induce not very frequent but severe anaphylactic reactions following ingestion. Seven individuals who all kept cage birds experienced allergic reactions after ingestion of millet-containing food.

Methods: We investigated the immunoglobulin E (IgE)-reactivity of these individuals to millet employing immunoblotting, RAST and skin prick tests. As the sensitization possibly occurred via the inhalant route we investigated millet-specific IgE levels of 16 additional sera from bird keepers with proven atopy, in retrospect.

Results: All patients who had experienced reactions after ingestion of millet displayed millet-specific IgE. Sixty-three percent of the atopic bird keepers possessed millet-specific IgE. By means of immunoblotting three major allergens in millet extract were detected.

Conclusions: Our results indicate that millet plays an important role as inhalant allergen for atopic bird keepers. A sensitization to millet may subsequently also elicit food allergy.