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Sensitivity to Ladybug Allergen More Common Than Thought

Up to 50 percent of those with home infestations could have ladybug hypersensitivity

TUESDAY, Oct. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Ladybug allergies are apparently more common than once thought, according to three reports in the October issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology that describe adults and children with high sensitivity for ladybug allergens.

Deborah Albright, M.D., of Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, and colleagues found Harmonia axyridis-specific IgE antibodies in the serum of eight patients with allergic symptoms who reported having ladybug home-infestation. Estimates from another study led by Kusum Sharma, M.D., from the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Kentucky, suggest that up to 50 percent of individuals with ladybug home-infestation could have hypersensitivity.

In a third study, Ray Davis, M.D., of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis., and colleagues examined two preschool boys who presented to the emergency department with severe facial or periocular angioedema without respiratory symptoms. Both had "markedly positive" skin prick tests for ladybug allergen.

"Although allergic respiratory or cutaneous reactions to ladybugs are uncommon, a high index of suspicion from exposure history and confirmatory skin testing can be conclusive for the diagnosis," Davis and colleagues write.

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