Seafood allergy in children linked to high rate of anaphylaxis (20%), shrimp is the most common cause

Both food allergy and seafood (fish, mollusk, and crustacean) consumption have increased over the past 40 years.

Seafood allergy is now one of the leading cause of food-related anaphylaxis in both the United States and Australia.

This Australian study included a retrospective chart review of 167 children presenting to tertiary Allergy Service with an allergic reaction to seafood. 94% had evidence of co-existent atopic disease.

Crustacean allergy

Prawn/shrimp was the most common seafood implicated. 20% presented with a history of anaphylaxis to seafood.

Over 50% of crustacean-allergic children could tolerate non-crustacean fish.

Fish allergy

Sensitization to other fish species was very common in fish-allergic children, with 30% reporting reactions to at least two species. 16% developed symptoms to fish vapours.

In children with allergy to tuna and/or salmon, at least 21% were able to tolerate the fish in a tinned form.

Seafood is a relatively common and important cause of food allergy, presenting with a high rate of anaphylaxis (20%).


Seafood allergy in children: a descriptive study. Turner, Ian Ng, Andrew Kemp, Dianne Campbell, Volume 106, Issue 6, Pages 494-501 (June 2011).

Image source: A steamed tail-on shrimp, Wikipedia, public domain.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad some real research is being done into seafood allergies. I developed a crustacean allergy some time in my teens that gave me itchy lumps in the mouth & made me wheeze with moderate asthma- no anaphylaxis. However, after about 15 years, I found I could eat prawns & crab again quite OK, as long as it wasn't in Chinese food full of MSG, when I reacted to it again. Is that common? Now I'm OK with cooking seafood at home & eating it, but a bit allergic to fish oils I take for arthritis & depression. About 15 years ago I had one anaphylactic reaction to Mahe mahe fish in Hawaii & was not treated except with multiple doses of Ventolin inhaler, where I felt as though I was suffocating & made these awful noises with my throat as I tried to breathe in. After many glasses of water & Ventolin puffs, I recovered & haven't had another attack since. However, no doctor has ever given me an Epipen because they didn't SEE the episode. It is nerve-wracking to eat reef fish now and this seems somehow "unfair"! There must me thousands of people just like this who would love some systematic research, treatment and therapeutic framework for these issues.