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Snail allergy


Information provided in co-operation with the Informall project.

Snails are eaten cooked with consumption being highest in France, Italy, Spain and Portugal .

Snail allergy

Allergic reactions have been reported to several species of snails including the brown garden snail (Helix aspersa), the burgundy snail (Helix pomatia), and the vinyard snail (Cernuella virgata). Helix terrestre may be a synonym for one of these. Allergy to the white garden snail Theba pisana (synonyms Euparipha pisana, Euparypha pisana or Helix pisana) and to the sea snail Bolinus brandaris have also been reported.

Allergy to molluscs such as snail is less common than allergy to shrimps. Snail allergy is associated with an unusual distribution of symptoms with asthma being very frequently reported. However, mild symptoms such as oral allergy syndrome, urticaria (hives) and severe symptoms such as anaphylactic shock can also occur after consumption.

Allergy to snail is frequently associated with allergy to dust mites and this may account for the high frequency of asthma and rhinitis seen as symptoms. There are also concerns that desensitization therapy with dust mite extracts may cause a more severe reaction to snails. Some individuals with allergy to shrimp (crustacea) may also suffer associated allergy to snail. For others, their allergy to snail is associated with allergy to other shellfish (molluscs) such as abalone and limpet which can include serious or fatal reactions.

The main allergenic protein in snails is tropomyosin.

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