Mackerel Allergy Test
Latin name: Scomber scombrus
Source material: Fresh fish
Mackerel is a food which may result in allergy symptoms in sensitised individuals.
Mackerel Allergy Test: Allergen Exposure
Mackerel is a common term for a number of related species of oily fish in the Scombridae family, which also includes tuna and bonito. It is an important food fish and is consumed by humans around the world.
Traditionally, the difficulty of preserving mackerel and its tendency to spoil quickly particularly in warmer climates meant that it was only consumed fresh on the day of capture. Today, mackerel is commonly sold canned, salted, smoked or otherwise cured.
In Japan mackerel is commonly cured with salt and vinegar to produce saba-zushi, a type of sushi. Peppered and smoked mackerel is a popular food in Northern Europe and Scandinavia. Mackerel is also often roasted or grilled. Canned mackerel is widely available packed in oil or a in variety of sauces including mustard, tomato and curry.
Mackerel is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, and a good source of niacin, phosphorus, protein, vitamin B12 and selenium.
Mackerel Allergy Test: Allergen Description
No specific allergens present in mackerel have been characterised, although a number of proteins have been identified.
Canned mackerel may have reduced allergenicity when compared to fresh fish, according to research.
Mackerel Allergy Test: Potential Cross-Reactivity
Species within groups of fish, like Gadiformes (examples: codfish and hake) and Scombroid fishes (examples: mackerel and tuna) seem to share allergenic components. The overlap of allergen specificity between the groups seems to be moderate or even small.
Mackerel Allergy Test: Clinical Experience
Sensitivity to mackerel is relatively common. In a study of fish- and crustacea-allergic adults, the reactivity to mackerel was the second highest of any species.
Another study demonstrated sensitivity to mackerel in 20% of a group of cod-sensitive children.
Immediate allergic reactions may follow ingestion of even minute amounts of fish.
Symptoms can include oral allergy syndrome, generalised urticaria, facial angioedema and anaphylaxis.
Because patients react to both cooked and raw fish, it is assumed the allergens are heat-resistant. However, more recent studies indicate that patients may react differently to processed food and that allergic reactions may be species-specific.
It has been reported that some fish allergic persons can exhibit allergic symptoms due to the steam (airborne allergens) from cooking fish.
Acute anisakiasis as a result of the larvae of the fish parasite Anisakis simplex may occur following ingestion of undercooked or raw mackerel.
Symptoms can include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, abdominal distention, diarrhea, blood and mucus in stool, and mild fever. Allergic reactions with rash and itching, and infrequently, anaphylaxis, can also occur.
Mackerel and other members of the family rapidly degrade and may, if improperly stored, contain large amounts of histamine associated with the bacterial enzyme histidine decarboxylase, which converts histidine to histamine. Mackerel allergy may therefore sometimes be confused with a reaction to histamine present in the spoiled fish.
Mercury contamination varies between mackerel species, from very low risk in the case of the Atlantic mackerel to high or very high in the case of the Spanish, Gulf or King mackerel.