Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Allergic Reaction to Peanut-Tainted Blood

There is an article published today on about a boy that had an allergic reaction requiring an injection of adrenaline during a blood transfusion. The doctors looked at all possible scenarios including allergic reactions to drugs and latex.  It wasn't until the boy's mom mentioned him having a similar reaction to peanuts when he was an infant that made the doctors start looking at the blood donors.  They traced the blood back to five donors and found that three of them had eaten handfuls of peanuts the night before they donated platelets.  Apparently, there are no other documented incidences of this happening; however according to this article, there have been other incidents reported of patients developing a peanut allergy after receiving donated blood from a peanut allergic donor.

This has my mind spinning.  The majority of the time, blood transfusions are given in life or death situations.  Getting a peanut allergy as a result is a small price to pay?  Right??  Wrong??  Or, should Abigail and other peanut allergic individuals not do something special and donate blood?  But, what about the flip side?  How are they protected? In the future, will blood donors need to document that they've eaten peanuts prior to making the donation?  According to this article, "the major allergen in peanuts, Ara h2, is extremely resistant to digestion because of a peptide that can show up in blood serum for up to 24 hours after ingestion." In this case, when the boy's blood was tested, the doctors found his levels of peanut-specific antibodies and the peptide were far higher than normal.  The scientists studying his case claim that the peanut eating donors transmitted the allergen which triggered his reaction.

I'd love for you to read the article and then let me know your thoughts.  As peanut allergies continue to rise and until doctors and scientist have a handle on this epidemic, I'm pretty sure we've not heard the last of this.


Lisa said...

My initial thought is that the boy has leukemia, so his immune system is compromised and probably puts him at a much greater risk of this happening than another allergic person who might be receiving blood products for another reason or in an emergency situation. It does sound like it is extremely rare though.
I thought it was interesting though that the child was not identified as peanut allergic as part of his medical record.

Anyway, just another reason for a treatment to get out there as soon as possible!!

Mom with a Mission said...

Very good point Lisa. There is definitely a correlation between a compromised immune system and the severity of a allergic reaction.