A 46-year-old man is now allergic to kiwis after he received a bone marrow transplant from a kiwi-allergic donor, his sister.
The situation of the man, a leukemia patient, is believed to be the first case of marrow surgery-transmitted allergies. The surgery was considered a success until the man ate a kiwi and experienced allergy symptoms, including tingling and swelling of the mouth and throat, for the first time in his life.
Researchers were able to isolate the specific cells in the patient’s blood that were reacting to kiwi fruit, and confirmed that they had originated from the donor’s marrow.
In the past, other surgeries have been connected to the transmission of allergies to a previously non-allergic patient, but this is the first time that doctors were able to confirm that an allergic reaction occurred as the result of donor cells. The allergy is likely permanent, though cases of temporarily transmitted allergies have also been recorded. Last year, a boy developed peanut and fish allergies after receiving a blood transfusion, but both eventually subsided.