Report examines how boy got food allergies from blood transfusions

A boy being cared for at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children got more than he bargained for when he was given blood transfusions while being treated for a brain tumour.

TORONTO — A boy being cared for at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children got more than he bargained for when he was given blood transfusions while being treated for a brain tumour.

Doctors say the boy temporarily acquired food allergies after receiving a range of blood products.

The boy had no known allergies before receiving the blood transfusions, and regularly ate fish and peanut butter.

But after receiving the transfusions, he developed an anaphylactic reaction after eating salmon; four days later a peanut butter cup induced the same reaction.

An investigation revealed that one of the donors whose blood the boy received had severe allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish and other fish.

The boy tested positive for all those allergens, but later the foods were reintroduced into his diet without any problems.

Canadian Blood Services says this isn’t the first time this type of event has happened. In fact, the first known case was reported in 1919.

But reports have been rare and this is only the second in Canada in the past decade.

Officials with Canadian Blood Services say they ask potential blood donors if they are experiencing allergy symptoms when they are being screened at blood donation clinics. It they say yes, they are asked to come back another day.

But the agency does not ask all people with food allergies to refrain from giving blood, nor is it considering doing so. A survey the agency conducted around 2010 disclosed that allergies are common among blood donors and nearly eight per cent reported having severe allergies.

Asking so many people to refrain from giving blood would jeopardize Canada’s blood supply, says Dr. Mindy Goldman, the agency’s medical director.

“We could not defer eight per cent of donors to prevent a … one in less than one million occurrence,” says Goldman, who notes that Hema-Quebec, which runs that province’s blood supply, and the U.S. blood system take the same approach.

The report is published in this week’s issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Senior author Dr. Julia Upton, an immunologist at the Hospital for Sick Children, says the proteins in the donated blood that cause the reaction to foods clear from the blood within a couple of months.

But she suggests that if someone who has received a blood transfusion goes on to have an allergic reaction to foods they could previously eat, those foods should be reintroduced into their diets carefully, possibly under medical observation.

Just Posted

Ella Stoner, five, is ready to cut off her hair and donate it to A Child’s Voice Foundation. (Photo by Lauren Stoner Photography)
Central Alberta girl to donate her ‘princess hair’ to A Child’s Voice Foundation

A five-year-old girl from Rimbey has never had a haircut before. Now,… Continue reading

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta adds 1,195 new COVID-19 cases Saturday

Red Deer has dropped to 760 active cases

Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr
Central Alberta MLAs comment on UCP members kicked out of caucus

A pair of central Alberta MLAs have commented on the two United… Continue reading

Contributed photo
Johanna Hannaford: Central Alberta designer offers inclusive clothing

By Stephanie Rhodes Local designer Johanna Hannaford’s inclusive clothing creations are smashing… Continue reading

Red life-ring with splash
Started from the bottom: How a family business started and grew in central Alberta

By Carina Moran We started our business in the basement of our… Continue reading

Vancouver Canucks' Zack MacEwen (71), Travis Boyd (72) and Jimmy Vesey (24) celebrate a goal against the Edmonton Oilers during third period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 15, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Big third period lifts Vancouver Canucks to 4-1 victory over Edmonton Oilers

Canucks 4 Oilers 1 EDMONTON — Matthew Highmore scored twice in the… Continue reading

A vial of the Medicago vaccine sits on a surface. CARe Clinic, located in Red Deer, has been selected to participate in the third phase of vaccine study. (Photo courtesy www.medicago.com)
Canada’s vaccine rollout operation won’t miss a beat with new military leader: expert

DARTMOUTH — The sudden departure of the senior military officer in charge… Continue reading

Quebec Premier Francois Legault speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic, Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at the legislature in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
Quebec premier argues province has power to amend constitution in letter to Trudeau

MONTREAL — Quebec Premier François Legault has written a letter to Prime… Continue reading

A demonstrator stands in front of riot police officers during a banned protest in support of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, in Paris, Saturday, May, 15, 2021. Marches in support of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were being held Saturday in a dozen French cities, but the focus was on Paris where riot police countered organizers who said they would defy a ban on the protest, ordered on the grounds that it risked turning violent. (AP Photo/Rafael Yaghobzadeh)
Police fire tear gas on banned Palestinian march in Paris

PARIS (AP) — French riot police fired tear gas and used water… Continue reading

Photo by The Associated Press
NYC Pride parade bans police; Gay officers ‘disheartened’

NEW YORK (AP) — Organizers of New York City’s Pride events said… Continue reading

Welcoming cowboy boots at the historic and colourful Last Chance Saloon in the ghost town of Wayne near Drumheller, Alta., on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019. The bar and hotel are up for sale. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘It was a going concern’: Remaining bar and hotel in Alberta coal ghost town for sale

WAYNE, Alta. — Built during the First World War, it survived the… Continue reading

A letter from a bottle that washed up in New Brunswick in 2017 is shown in an undated handout photo. A team of researchers from Université du Québec à Rimouski are trying to solve the mystery of whether a letter in a bottle that washed up in New Brunswick in 2017 was indeed from a young victim of Titanic shipwreck or simply a hoax. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, N. Beaudry, UQAR *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Real or hoax? Quebec scholars probe mystery letter allegedly from Titanic passenger

MONTREAL — Researchers from Université du Québec à Rimouski are trying to… Continue reading

Minister of Transport Marc Garneau takes part in a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019. Advocates, experts and opposition MPs say correspondence showing close communication between the federal Transport Department and the Canadian Transportation Agency regarding passenger refunds throws into question the independence of the CTA, an arm’s-length body. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Emails reveal close communication between government, transport regulator on refunds

OTTAWA — Advocates, experts and opposition MPs say correspondence showing close communication… Continue reading

Most Read