Occupational type I allergy to Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera)

Allergy. 1997 Jun;52(6):656-60. doi: 10.1111/j.1398-9995.1997.tb01045.x.


The study aimed to determine whether occupational contact urticaria and symptoms of mucous membranes, reported by five workers in a cactus nursery, were due to IgE-mediated allergy to Schlumbergera cacti. The five persons had positive skin prick tests to the plants as is and positive histamine-release tests, and in three of them specific IgE to the cacti could be demonstrated by Maxisorp RAST and immunoblotting. Four of the patients were atopic, and the fifth had a positive skin prick test to cat dander, indicating latent atopy. Skin prick tests with cacti were negative in most atopic volunteers, and all had negative histamine-release tests. The results suggest a true IgE-mediated allergy to the cacti, and both genetic predisposition and close contact with the plants at work seem to be important factors in the emergence of this new occupational allergy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Agricultural Workers' Diseases / etiology*
  • Agricultural Workers' Diseases / immunology
  • Basophils / immunology
  • Dermatitis, Occupational / etiology
  • Dermatitis, Occupational / immunology
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Female
  • Histamine Release
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / immunology*
  • Immunoblotting
  • Immunoglobulin E / analysis
  • Immunoglobulin E / physiology
  • Plants / immunology*
  • Radioallergosorbent Test
  • Skin Tests


  • Immunoglobulin E