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Severe Allergic Reactions to Guinea Pig


Severe Allergic Reactions to Guinea Pig

Michael C Zacharisen et al. Clin Mol Allergy.


Background: Allergic sensitization and reactions to guinea pig (Cavia porcellus) have been well documented in laboratory animal handlers, primarily manifesting as rhinitis, conjunctivitis, and asthma. Severe allergic reactions, however, are rare.

Methods: We report two patients with severe allergic reactions following non-occupational exposure to guinea pigs. The first patient, an 11-year-old female, developed ocular, nasal, skin and laryngeal edema symptoms immediately after handling a guinea pig. The second patient, a 24-year-old female, developed symptoms of isolated laryngeal edema after cleaning a guinea pig cage. Percutaneous skin testing, RAST, ELISA and ELISA inhibition testing with guinea pig extract were performed.

Results: Both patients had IgE-mediated allergy to guinea pig confirmed by ELISA and either RAST or skin testing. ELISA inhibition studies confirmed the specificity of the IgE reactivity to guinea pig.

Conclusion: Severe IgE-mediated reactions can occur following non-occupational guinea pig exposure. Physicians should be aware of this possibility.


Figure 1
Figure 1
ELISA inhibition assay with guinea pig allergen resulted in complete absorption of specific IgE antibody in both patients.

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