Sicherer agreed that the possibility that peanuts in blood products -- or other tree nuts or other foods, for that matter -- could cause an allergic reaction is worth further study.
The 6-year-old boy in the case report was being treated for leukemia and received a platelet transfusion, which helps with clotting. The boy experienced swelling, low blood pressure and difficulty breathing, all signs of anaphylaxis. The boys' mother said he'd had a similar reaction after eating peanuts as a 1-year-old.
He was given adrenalin and recovered, according to the report.
Three of the five platelet donors reported eating several handfuls of peanuts less than 24 hours before donating blood. Researchers never actually tested the blood product that the boy received, but they did test the boy's blood for peanut-specific IgE antibodies, the results of which indicated the boy had a peanut allergy. In addition, the boy had other prior platelet transfusions and had no reaction, Jacobs said.
Peanut proteins are more resistant to digestion that other foods, according to the authors.
"One percent of the population has peanut allergy and people get blood transfusions all the time," Sicherer said. "Allergic reactions seem to be exceedingly rare if it happens."
The Nemours Foundation has more on nut and peanut allergies.
SOURCES: Johannes F.M. Jacobs, Ph.D., M.D., Radboud University, Nijmegen Medical Center, the Netherlands; Scott Sicherer, M.D., chair, A
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