Author(s): Wild LG, Lehrer SB
Fish and shellfish are important in the American diet and economy. Nearly $27 billion are spent each year in the United States on seafood products. Fish and shellfish are also important causes of food hypersensitivity. In fact, shellfish constitute the number one cause of food allergy in the American adult. During the past decade, much has been learned about allergens in fish and shellfish. The major allergens responsible for cross-reactivity among distinct species of fish and amphibians are parvalbumins. The major shellfish allergen has been identified as tropomyosin. Many new and important potential cross-reacting allergens have been identified within the fish family and between shellfish, arachnids, and insects. Extensive research is currently underway for the development of safer and more effective methods for the diagnosis and management of fish and shellfish hypersensitivity.