Cutaneous hypersensitivity reactions to freshwater cyanobacteria - human volunteer studies

Stewart, Ian, Robertson, Ivan M., Webb, Penelope M., Schluter, Philip J. and Shaw, Glen R. (2006) Cutaneous hypersensitivity reactions to freshwater cyanobacteria - human volunteer studies. B M C Dermatology, 6 6.1-6.9. doi:10.1186/1471-5945-6-6

Author Stewart, Ian
Robertson, Ivan M.
Webb, Penelope M.
Schluter, Philip J.
Shaw, Glen R.
Title Cutaneous hypersensitivity reactions to freshwater cyanobacteria - human volunteer studies
Journal name B M C Dermatology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1471-5945
Publication date 2006
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1186/1471-5945-6-6
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 6
Start page 6.1
End page 6.9
Total pages 9
Editor D. Saltman
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher BioMed Central
Collection year 2006
Language eng
Subject C1
321299 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
730299 Public health not elsewhere classified
Formatted abstract
Background: Pruritic skin rashes associated with exposure to freshwater cyanobacteria are infrequently reported in the medical and scientific literature, mostly as anecdotal and case reports. Diagnostic dermatological investigations in humans are also infrequently described. We sought to conduct a pilot volunteer study to explore the potential for cyanobacteria to elicit hypersensitivity reactions.

Methods: A consecutive series of adult patients presenting for diagnostic skin patch testing at a hospital outpatient clinic were invited to participate. A convenience sample of volunteers matched for age and sex was also enrolled. Patches containing aqueous suspensions of various cyanobacteria at three concentrations were applied for 48 hours; dermatological assessment was made 48 hours and 96 hours after application.

Results: 20 outpatients and 19 reference subjects were recruited into the study. A single outpatient produced unequivocal reactions to several cyanobacteria suspensions; this subject was also the only one of the outpatient group with a diagnosis of atopic dermatitis. No subjects in the reference group developed clinically detectable skin reactions to cyanobacteria.

: This preliminary clinical study demonstrates that hypersensitivity  reactions to cyanobacteria appear to be infrequent in both the general and dermatological outpatient populations. As cyanobacteria are widely distributed in aquatic environments, a better appreciation of risk factors, particularly with respect to allergic predisposition, may help to refine health advice given to people engaging in recreational activities where nuisance cyanobacteria are a problem.
Q-Index Code C1
Institutional Status UQ

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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 10:35:25 EST