Fish allergy in childhood


Cristina Y. Pascual, Sección Alergia Pedriatrica, Hospital Universitario La Paz, Castellana 261, 28046 Madrid, Spain
Tel.: 34 912071570
Fax: 34 911915017


Fish and its derived products play an important role in human nutrition, but they may also be a potent food allergen. Fish can be an ingested, contact, and inhalant allergen. Gad c I, a Parvalbumin, the major allergen in codfish, is considered as fish and amphibian pan-allergen. Prevalence of fish allergy appears to depend on the amount of fish eaten in the local diet. In Europe, the highest consumption occurs in Scandinavian countries, Spain and Portugal. In Spain, fish is the third most frequent allergen in children under 2 yr of age after egg and cow’s milk. An adverse reaction to fish may be of non-allergic origin, due to food contamination or newly formed toxic products, but the most frequent type of adverse reactions to fish are immunologic-mediated reactions (allergic reactions). Such allergic reactions may be both IgE-mediated and non-IgE-mediated. Most cases are IgE-mediated, due to ingestion or contact with fish or as a result of inhalation of cooking vapors. Some children develop non-IgE-mediated type allergies such as food protein induced enterocolitis syndrome. The clinical symptoms related to IgE-mediated fish allergy are most frequently acute urticaria and angioedema as well as mild oral symptoms, worsening of atopic dermatitis, respiratory symptoms such as rhinitis or asthma, and gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. Anaphylaxis may also occur. Among all the species studied, those from the Tunidae and Xiphiidae families appear to be the least allergenic.