The stomach flu – known officially as gastroentritis – and food allergies account for a significant number of illnesses every day. Every three minutes, an allergic reaction prompts an emergency room visit. New research shows a possible link between the two illnesses, which may pave the way for new methods to control them.
According to researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin, there is a possible link between norovirus (a virus that commonly causes 'stomach flu' or 'food poisoning') and food allergies. As reported by the researchers studied mice who had been infected with norovirus. After feeding them egg protein (a common food allergen), they examined the mice for evidence of an allergic reaction, as evidenced by signs of immunoglobulin E, or IgE, which indicates that the immune system is responding to an allergen. An IgE response could indicate that the viral infection has affected the person's likelihood of reacting to food.
According to Dr. Grayson, a member of the research team, "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."