Anaphylactic reactions to novel foods: Case report of a child with severe crocodile meat allergy

Natalia Ballardini*, Anna Nopp, Carl Hamsten, Mirja Vetander, Erik Melén, Caroline Nilsson, Markus Ollert, Carsten Flohr, Annette Kuehn, Marianne Van Hage

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Availability of "exotic" foods is steadily increasing. In this report, we describe the first case of anaphylaxis to crocodile meat. The patient was a 13-year-old boy with severe immunoglobulin E-mediated allergy to chicken meat. When tasting crocodile meat for the first time, he developed an anaphylactic reaction. Cross-reactivity between chicken and crocodile meat was suspected to have triggered this reaction. Basophil activation and immunoglobulin E testing confirmed the boy's allergic reaction to crocodile meat proteins. Molecular analysis identified a crocodile a-parvalbumin, with extensive sequence homology to chicken a-parvalbumin, as the main cross-reactive allergen. We conclude that crocodile meat can be a potent food allergen and patients with allergy to chicken meat should be advised to avoid intake of meat from crocodile species. Both foods and people travel around the world and accessibility to exotic foods is steadily growing. As a result, novel allergic cross-reactivities are likely to become a challenge in the management of food allergy and, as our report illustrates, cross-reactivity has to be considered even between foods that might not intuitively be perceived as related.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere20161404
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017


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