[Skip to Navigation]
January 1959

Chronic Penicillin Urticaria from Dairy Products, Proved by Penicillinase Cures

Author Affiliations

Whittier, Calif.

From the University of Southern California School of Medicine Department of Medicine (Dermatology); Maximilian E. Obermayer, Chairman and Head of Department.

AMA Arch Derm. 1959;79(1):1-6. doi:10.1001/archderm.1959.01560130003001


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

Add or change institution