Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research
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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 139  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 921-926

Chironomid midges as allergens: evidence from two species from West Bengal, Kolkata, India

1 Department of Zoology, University of Calcutta, Kolkata, India
2 Department of Zoology, University of Calcutta, Kolkata; Department of Zoology, The University of Burdwan, Burdwan, India
3 Rittik Allergy & Asthma Treatment Centre, Kolkata, India

Correspondence Address:
Goutam K Saha
Department of Zoology, University of Calcutta 35, Ballygunge Circular Road, Kolkata 700 019
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 25109727

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Background & objectives: Arthropods of different taxonomic identity including chironomid midges are known to induce allergic response in humans. The present study was done to access two common chironomid species Chironomus circumdatus and Polypedilum nubifer for their sensitizing potential as an allergen in atopic patients and controls. Methods: Following preparation of allergenic extracts of the two chironomid species separately, 198 atopic patients attending an allergy clinic and 50 age matched controls were tested along with a routine panel of allergens to assess sensitization. Results: The skin prick test (SPT) results revealed that 189 of the 198 patients (95.4%) demonstrated sensitization to both the chironomid species. Higher levels of total IgE was observed in atopic subjects than in the control group. Interpretation & conclusions: The results suggest that the chironomid midges Chironomus circumdatus and Polypedilum nubifer can elicit sensitization in humans. A potential risk for allergic reactions by susceptible individuals exists due to these chironomid species, owing to their abundance and chances of contact with human beings. Further studies may be initiated to characterize the nature of the allergens and to assess their clinical relevance.

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