Allergic reaction to antibiotics in food are underdiagnosed because doctors cannot simply check a product label for antibiotics; they have to send the sample to special laboratories to perform an analysis, Des Roches said.
"This is a very rare allergic reaction" Dr. James Sublett, president-elect of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, said in a statement. "Nevertheless, it's something allergists need to be aware of and that emergency room personnel may need to know about."
Use of antibiotics in agriculture has received criticism because it may contribute to the rise of antibiotic resistance. Some countries have banned the use of antibiotics for growing food, but the practice is allowed in the United States and Canada.
Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration took steps to help phase out the use of certain antibiotics in livestock; the drugs had been used to help animals gain weight faster.
Stricter policies to reduce antibiotic contaminants in foods will not only help to fight antibiotic resistance, but may also reduce the type of rare allergic reaction that the girl in the study experienced, the researchers said.
The study is published in the September issue of the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
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