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November 27, 1987

Anaphylaxis and Stinging Insect Hypersensitivity

JAMA. 1987;258(20):2881-2885. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400200087009

ANAPHYLAXIS  ANAPHYLAXIS as a full-blown medical emergency represents only a fraction of the acute allergic events with systemic manifestations for which this term can be used. The word anaphylaxis (backward protection) was coined by Portier and Richet1 to describe the increased susceptibility of dogs to repeated injections of sea anemone toxin. Only later was it realized that the reactions of the reinjected dogs were due to hypersensitivity rather than to the loss of a normal protective mechanism.Anaphylaxis is now used to refer generically to the signs and symptoms resulting from the antigen-induced, IgE-mediated release or formation of chemical mediators whose target organs are primarily blood vessels and smooth muscle.2 This might even include locally restricted, IgE-mediated reactions such as when airborne pollen grains cause allergic rhinoconjunctivitis after deposition on moist conjunctival and nasal membranes. However, it is more customary to regard anaphylaxis as one of several similar