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December 23, 1968

Anaphylaxis From An Indian Necklace

Author Affiliations

University of Wisconsin Madison

JAMA. 1968;206(13):2900-2901. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03150130058026

To the Editor:—  The castor bean, the seed of Ricinus communis, is one of the most potent of the antigens that cause anaphylactic type of hypersensitivity in man.1 Usually patients encounter the antigen at their work2,3 or by living in the vicinity of castor bean processing plants,4-6 but this patient's contact with the bean was in an exotic way. The source of the allergic symptoms went unrecognized until she had an acute, severe reaction.

Report of a Case:  A 21-year-old woman student was admitted to the University Hospitals because facial itching and swelling of her eyelids suddenly developed. Approximately one half hour before the patient arrived at the emergency room she had itching of her eyes and tearing immediately after one of the seed beads of a necklace she was wearing crumbled in her fingers. After attempting to remove the powder of the bead from her fingers