Objective.

Immunization of egg-allergic children against measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) is often deferred or even denied, although the safety of this vaccination has been clearly shown. Moreover, the majority of severe allergic reactions have occurred in egg-tolerant vaccinees. Other allergenic vaccine components have been sought, and gelatin has been suggested as one cause of allergic adverse events. The aim of this study was to further characterize the actual allergenic vaccine components.

Methods.

Serum samples from 36 recipients of MMR vaccine with anaphylaxis, urticaria with or without angioedema, asthmatic symptoms, or Henoch-Schönlein purpura were analyzed by CAP System radioallergosorbent test (RAST) and immunospot methods to detect the allergenic vaccine component. To evaluate the correspondence between the findings in the CAP System RAST or the immunospot and clinical symptoms, histories of allergies and present hypersensitivity symptoms were assessed.

Results.

Of the 36 participants, 10 were demonstrated to be allergic to gelatin. Seven of them had persistent allergic symptoms, possibly attributable to foods containing gelatin or cross-reactive allergens. The results of the immunospot suggested concomitant allergy to gelatin and egg, chicken, and feathers, as well as cow's milk, or they reflected allergen cross-reactivity.

Conclusions.

Although severe allergic adverse events attributable to MMR vaccination are extremely rare, all serious allergic reactions should be further assessed to detect the likely causative vaccine component, including gelatin. The current recommendation for immunization of egg-allergic persons according to standard MMR vaccination schedules is reinforced. measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine, immunization, adverse effects, allergic reactions, gelatin allergy, CAP System, radioallergosorbent test, immunospot, immunoglobulin E.

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