MadSci Network: Immunology

Re: Alleric reaction from the smell of fish ?

Date: Fri Apr 14 13:04:01 2000
Posted By: Richard Deem, Staff, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Area of science: Immunology
ID: 955129545.Im

Yes, it is possible to have an allergic reaction to "fish smells". A recent report in the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology has shown that fish proteins can be aerosolized and cause allergic reactions in those people who are sensitive to fish proteins. However, the context of the study was an open-air fish market, where fish is being cut up, thrown around, etc. Aerosolization under less extreme conditions is much less likely, and so probably does not account for most reactions against fish smells. Most of the "fish smell" is the result of ammonia production upon decay and contamination of fish with bacteria. Those kinds of smells cannot cause allergic reactions, but can cause psychological reponses.

Here is the study that I mentioned (and some others):

  1. Taylor AV. Swanson MC. Jones RT. Vives R. Rodriguez J. Yunginger JW. Crespo JF. Detection and quantitation of raw fish aeroallergens from an open-air fish market. Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology2000;105:166-9.
  2. Crespo JF, Pascual C, Dominguez C, Ojeda I, Munoz FM, Esteban MM. Allergic reactions associated with airborne fish particles in IgE-mediated fish hypersensitive patients. Allergy 1995;50:257-61.
  3. Droszcz W, Kowalski J, Piotrowska B, Pawlowicz A, Pietruszewzka E. Allergy to fish in fish meal factory workers. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 1981;49:13-9.
  4. Douglas JD, McSharry C, Blaikie L, Morrow T, Miles S, Franklin D. Occupational asthma caused by automated salmon processing. Lancet 1995;346:737-40.
  5. Rodriguez J, Reano M, Vives R, Canto G, Daroca P, Crespo JF, et al. Occupational asthma caused by fish inhalation. Allergy 1997;52:866-9.
  6. Bahna SL. Exquisite food allergy without eating. Allergy 1994;49:120-30.
  7. Pascual CY, Crespo JF, Noche CD, Ojeda I, Ortega N, Esteban MM. IgE-binding proteins in fish and fish steam. In: Wuthrich B, Ortolani C, editors. Highlights in food allergy. Monogr Allergy 1996;32:174-80.
  8. Cartier A, Malo JL, Ghezzo H, McCants M, Lehrer SB. IgE sensitization in snow crab-processing workers. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1986;78:344-8.

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