Abstract Introduction Penicillin reactions have produced over 1,000 deaths in the U. S. A.1 The reactions are increasing steadily in both frequency and severity. Part of this increase may be due to allergies developed by the daily exposure of millions of Americans to penicillin-contaminated dairy products.2,3 This article is written to review the subject and to present four case reports proving for the first time that penicillin contaminating milk causes allergic reactions. Penicillin is widely used to treat mastitis in cows.4,5 From this use, it contaminates a high percentage of American milk.2,3,6 Penicillin in milk may sensitize nonallergic people or may provoke or prolong reactions in previously sensitized patients. Dr. Henry Welch, the Director of the Division of Antibiotics of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), summarizing the problem in 1957, stated, "We do not have a single proved case of a reaction following References 1. Penicillinase, as used in all reported cases of human patients, was Neutrapen, purified from the secretion of Bacillus cereus Strain NRRL B-569 by SchenLabs Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and provided for research purposes by B. Marr Lanman, M. D., Director of Clinical Research, SchenLabs Pharmaceuticals, Inc. 2. Feinberg, S. M., and Feinberg, A. R.: Allergy to Penicillin , Editorial, J. A. M. A. 160:778-779 ( (March 3) ) 1956.Crossref 3. Zimmerman, M. C.: Penicillin Urticaria , Schoch Letter , Dallas, Texas, (October) , 1954, p. 56. 4. Welch, H. C.: Problems of Antibiotics in Food, as the Food and Drug Administration Sees Them , Am. J. Pub. Health 47:701 ( (June) ) 1957. 5. Little, R. B.: The Intramammary Therapy of Bovine Mastitis , J. Am. Vet. M. A. 108:127 ( (March) ) 1946. 6. Zweig, J.: Procaine Penicillin G in the Bovine Udder , Vet. Rec. 61:811 ( (Dec. 3) ) 1949. 7. Casselberry, N. H.: Role of Penicillin in Mastitis Control , N. Am. Vet. 33:768 ( (Dec.) ) 1946. 8. Becker, R. M.: Effect of Penicillinase on Circulating Penicillin , New England J. Med. 254: 952 ( (May 17) ) 1956.Crossref 9. Trump, F.: Aureomycin for Mastitis , Mich. Farmer 104:16 ( (Feb 4) ) 1950. 10. Hood, E. G., and Katznelson, H.: The Effect of Penicillin on the Acid Producing Ability of Starters , Canad. Dairy & Ice Cream J. 28:32, 1949. 11. Krienke, W. A.: Penicillin in Milk, a Hazard to Starters, Buttermilk and Cottage Cheese Manufacture , Milk Dealer 39:126, 1949. 12. Krienke, W. A.: Penicillin vs. Cheese , Hoard's Dairymen 95:180, 1950. 13. Beale, Clyde: Penicillin Affects Milk , Country Gent. 54:183 ( (Feb.) ) 1950. 14. Hanson, H. C.; Wiggins, G. E., and Boyd, J. C.: Modern Methods of Mastitis Treatment Cause Trouble in the Manufacture of Fermented Dairy Products , J. Milk Technol. 13:359, 1950. 15. Coleman, M., and Siegel, B.: Studies in Penicillin Hypersensitivity: II. The Significance of Penicillin as a Contaminant , J. Allergy 26:253, 1955. 16. Bierlein, K. J.: Repeated Anaphylactic Reactions in a Patient Highly Sensitized to Penicillin , Ann. Allergy 14:35, 1956. 17. Carter, E. S., Jr., and Cope, C. B.: Anaphylaxis Due to Topical Penicillin , J. Allergy 25:270 ( (May) ) 1954. 18. Zimmerman, M. C.: Penicillinase Treatment of 52 Patients with Allergic Reactions to Penicillin , Antibiotics Ann. , pp. 312-320, 1957-1958. 19. Zimmerman, M. C.: The Prophylaxis and Treatment of Penicillin Reactions with Penicillinase , Clin. Med. 5:305 ( (March) ) 1958. 20. Welch, H. C., Ph. D., Director, Division of Antibiotics, Bureau of Biological and Physical Sciences, Food and Drug Administration, Washington 25, D. C.: Personal communication to the author. 21. Epstein, E.: Chronic Urticaria Following Penicillin Therapy , California Med. 74:429 ( (June) ) 1951. 22. Uri, J.; Szathmary, S., and Herpay, Z.: Production of an Antibiotic by Dermatophytes Living in Horn Products , Nature, London 179:1029 ( (May 18) ) 1957.
A.M.A. Archives of Dermatology – American Medical Association
Published: Jan 1, 1959
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