Peanut Allergy Transmitted Through Blood Transfusions

Is it possible to get a peanut allergy attack from a blood transfusion? A 6-year-old boy with leukemia had an anaphylactic reaction caused by a platelet transfusion, which led to an investigation. What could possibly cause an allergic reaction during a transfusion, since the boy himself did not eat peanuts? His mother reportedly cut them out of his diet at age 1 due to a severe allergic reaction.

As the New England Journal of Medicine reported, “During transfusion, rash, angioedema, hypotension and difficult breathing occurred. The patient recovered within 30 minutes after resuscitation with adrenaline.” The report continued on to explain the hypothesis that “the consumption of peanuts by the donors before blood donation provided the trigger for this patient’s transfusion reaction. It is possible that allergens transferred in blood products to other patients have led to reactions that have gone unexplained and unreported. This case highlights the need to consider donor-ingested allergens as a source of reactions in sensitized recipients.” As the report explained, “Three of the five blood donors, contacted shortly after the transfusion reaction, recalled eating several handfuls of peanuts the evening before donation.” How did all parents of the blood-donating children remember their kid had eaten peanuts? In the UK it is a tradition to watch soccer on Sunday nights, and peanuts are a popular snack to munch on when watching the game.

Potentially, what this could mean is more types of screening done before blood donations. For example, making one universal rule of no peanut consumption before donation of blood.

Millions grapple with childhood food allergies every day. One of the most prevalent and dangerous is an allergy to peanuts or tree nuts, such as walnuts, cashews or pecans. Now, new research suggests that the prevalence of peanut and tree nut allergies may be on the rise among children. Each year, more than 3 million Americans report allergies to peanuts and tree nuts, and such allergies are reportedly the number one cause of fatal allergic reactions among Americans. This is especially troubling since, unlike other types of food allergies, nut allergies tend not to be outgrown by children.

Peanut and tree nut allergies can have a big impact on quality of life. They present a constant source of worry for children and their parents, as they try to avoid any foods that might contain even small amounts of peanuts or peanut oils and that might trigger an allergic reaction. While close monitoring requires a kind of hyper-vigilance from both child and parent, the good news is that a small proportion of children (up to 20 percent of kids with peanut allergies, according to the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network) will eventually outgrow this allergy.

For more information on childhood allergy prevention strategies check out this article.



1 Comment

  • the title of this article is very misleading. should say peanut “allergen” transmitted.

    as it, it’s as though one without a peanut allergy could become allergic post transfusion

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