Airborne Seafood Allergens as a Cause of Occupational Allergy and Asthma

  title={Airborne Seafood Allergens as a Cause of Occupational Allergy and Asthma},
  author={A. L. Lopata and Mohamed Fareed Jeebhay},
  journal={Current Allergy and Asthma Reports},
Occupational allergy and asthma is a serious adverse health outcome affecting seafood-processing workers. Allergic reactions are directed to two major seafood groups: fish and shellfish, with the latter group comprising crustaceans and molluscs. Several allergenic proteins have been identified in these different groups, but few have been characterised on a molecular level. Parvalbumin appears to be the major fish allergen, while tropomyosin the major crustacean allergen. Other IgE-binding… 
Food processing and occupational respiratory allergy‐ An EAACI position paper
Further studies are needed to identify and characterize major food allergens and define occupational exposure limits, evaluate the relative contribution of respiratory versus cutaneous sensitization to food antigens,evaluate the role of raw versus cooked food in influencing risk, and define the absolute or relative contraindication of patients with ingestion‐related food allergy, pollinosis, or oral allergy syndrome continuing to work with exposure to aerosolized food allergic agents.
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Intervention strategies effective in reducing airborne allergen exposure in flour and seafood industry and SIT and omalizumab might represent further management options in IgE-mediated OA in food industry.
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The study showed that a considerable proportion of workers in the Greenlandic seafood processing industry had occupational asthma and rhino conjunctivitis, and showed high sensitization levels toward snow crab, shrimp, and the fish parasite, A. simplex, which supports the hypothesis of a considerable degree of underreporting of occupational allergic airway disease.
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Clinical validation of a multiplex approach in molecular fish allergy diagnosis is needed for striving to avoid unnecessary food restrictions and in a further sense, improved patient care.
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Clinicians should be aware in clinical practice that a patient's occupation might be relevant to his or her food allergy, and aware of the under-recognized nature of this phenomenon.
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The management of occupational allergic airway diseases should include a follow-up programme providing close collaboration between health care providers and patients, and ad hoc educational tools aimed at ameliorating patient’s knowledge should be developed.


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The range of allergic disease associated with occupational exposure to crab is well characterised, whereas for other seafood agents the evidence is somewhat limited, and there is a need for further epidemiological studies to better characterise this risk.
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Molecular studies of the allergens suggest that aside from tropomyosin and parvalbumin, other as yet uncharacterized allergens are important, which needs to be considered in order to standardize exposure assessment techniques, which are key to assessing the impact of interventions.
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This overview of occupational allergies and asthma in seafood exposed workers illustrates the changing nature of the fishing and seafood processing industry in the midst of ecological degradation and globalisation.
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Future research on the molecular structure of tropomyosins with a focus on the immunological and particularly clinical cross‐reactivity will improve diagnosis and management of this potentially life‐threatening allergy and is essential for future immunotherapy.
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A sensitive method to measure salmon antigen in air was developed and found that filleting workers were most exposed, and it is important to reduce aerosols by improving the ventilation system, machines and organization of work since respiratory symptoms at work among workers were common.
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