Scientists describe bloodworm allergen


Medical scientists have described an allergen found in bloodworms that may affect fishkeepers.

The paper, which has just been published in the Journal of Investigational Allergology and Clinical Immunology, describes the case of a 23-year old Spanish patient who became ill after feeding bloodworms to his fish.

His symptoms, which included a rash, rhinoconjunctivitis (a combination of rhinitis and conjunctivitis), breathlessness and difficulty swallowing, led to doctors trying to determine the cause of the allergic reaction.

After investigating a number of other allergens, ranging from mussel, squid, house dust and dust mites to prawns and mosquitos, the study eventually revealed that the man was allergic to Chironomid midges, and their larvae - bloodworms.

The study says that Chironomid allergies are rare and are only seen in those who handle bloodworms used for fish foods.

Practical Fishkeeping has previously printed a letter in the Ask the Experts column from a reader who suffered from the condition.

For more details see the paper: Cabrerizo Ballesteros S, de Barrio M, Baeza ML, Rubio Sots M (2006) - Allergy to chironomid larvae (red migde larvae) in non professional handlers of fish food. J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol. 2006; 16(1): 63-8.