Gastroenteritis and food allergies causes a disturbing degree of illness in the Syracuse community daily. Research which shows a possible link between stomach flu and food allergies may present new considerations for the control of these illnesses.
Norovirus has been recognized as the leading cause of foodborne-disease outbreaks in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that Noroviruses (genus Norovirus, family Caliciviridae) are a group of related viruses that cause acute gastroenteritis in humans. The most common symptoms of acute gastroenteritis are reported to be diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain. Noroviruses can spread from person to person, via contaminated food or water, and by touching contaminated surfaces. Outbreaks of infection with Norovirus can happen to people of all ages and in a variety of settings.
MayoClinic.com has reported that food allergy is an immune system reaction which occurs soon after eating a certain food. In some cases even a very small amount of the allergy-causing food can trigger signs and symptoms such as digestive problems, hives or swollen airways. In some people, a food allergy can cause severe symptoms or even a life-threatening reaction which is known as anaphylaxis.
Nutrition Horizon has reported “Stomach Flu’ May Be Linked to Food Allergies.” It has been discovered by researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin that there is a possible link between norovirus, a virus that causes “stomach flu” in humans, and food allergies. The researchers took mice which were infected with norovirus and fed them egg protein. Thereafter they examined the mice for signs of an immunoglobulin E, or IgE, response against the food protein. It is an IgE response which leads to an allergic reaction. An IgE response to a gastrointestinal virus could signify a likelihood of developing a food allergy after the viral infection.
It has been reported that six million children in the United States have food allergies, and that every three minutes, a food allergy sends a child to the emergency room. Dr. Grayson, one of the researchers, has said “Food allergies are a dangerous, costly health issue not only in the United States, but worldwide. This study provides additional support for the idea that allergic disease may be related to an antiviral immune response, and further studies are planned to continue exploring the exact series of events that connect the antiviral response with allergic diseases.”
Photographer: renjith krishnan
Mandel News Service