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An update on shellfish allergy

Wong, Lydiaa; Tham, Elizabeth Huiwena,b; Lee, Bee Wahb

Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology: June 2019 - Volume 19 - Issue 3 - p 236–242
doi: 10.1097/ACI.0000000000000532
FOOD ALLERGY: Edited by Alessandro Fiocchi and Motohiro Ebisawa

Purpose of review Shellfish is an important cause of food allergy worldwide, and a major cause of food-triggered anaphylaxis. Despite the wide variety of shellfish, there is considerable serological and clinical cross-reactivity of major shellfish allergens, and accurate diagnosis remains a challenge in the management of shellfish allergy.

Recent findings Novel minor allergens have been discovered and characterized, and advances in component resolved diagnostics have provided insights into the prevalence of sensitization and their clinical importance in shellfish allergy. The extensive cross-reactivity between tropomyosin of house-dust mite and crustacean shellfish has been postulated to be the cause of a proposed mite-shellfish oral allergy syndrome.

Summary More studies in food challenge-proven patients are required to establish the true prevalence and natural history of shellfish allergy. Refinement of component resolved diagnostics and testing for minor allergens may be helpful in developing more precise species-specific tests. Further investigation into the role of tropomyosin in house-dust mite and shellfish allergies may provide novel immunotherapeutic approaches for shellfish allergy.

aKhoo Teck Puat-National University Children's Medical Institute, National University Hospital, National University Health System

bDepartment of Paediatrics, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore

Correspondence to Bee Wah Lee, MD, MBBS, MMed (Paediatrics), FRCPCH, Department of Paediatrics, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Level 12, NUHS Tower Block, 1E Kent Ridge Road, Singapore 119228, Singapore. E-mail:

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