Fish allergy: in review

Clin Rev Allergy Immunol. 2014 Jun;46(3):258-71. doi: 10.1007/s12016-013-8363-1.


Globally, the rising consumption of fish and its derivatives, due to its nutritional value and divergence of international cuisines, has led to an increase in reports of adverse reactions to fish. Reactions to fish are not only mediated by the immune system causing allergies, but are often caused by various toxins and parasites including ciguatera and Anisakis. Allergic reactions to fish can be serious and life threatening and children usually do not outgrow this type of food allergy. The route of exposure is not only restricted to ingestion but include manual handling and inhalation of cooking vapors in the domestic and occupational environment. Prevalence rates of self-reported fish allergy range from 0.2 to 2.29 % in the general population, but can reach up to 8 % among fish processing workers. Fish allergy seems to vary with geographical eating habits, type of fish processing, and fish species exposure. The major fish allergen characterized is parvalbumin in addition to several less well-known allergens. This contemporary review discusses interesting and new findings in the area of fish allergy including demographics, novel allergens identified, immunological mechanisms of sensitization, and innovative approaches in diagnosing and managing this life-long disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / chemistry
  • Allergens / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Anisakis / immunology
  • Child
  • Ciguatera Poisoning / immunology
  • Fish Proteins / chemistry
  • Fish Proteins / immunology*
  • Fishes / immunology
  • Fishes / metabolism
  • Fishes / parasitology
  • Food Hypersensitivity / epidemiology*
  • Food Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Food Hypersensitivity / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Parvalbumins / chemistry
  • Parvalbumins / immunology*
  • Prevalence
  • Seafood / adverse effects*


  • Allergens
  • Fish Proteins
  • Parvalbumins
  • Immunoglobulin E