• Päivikki SusitaivalEmail author
Reference work entry


Skin contact with animals and animal-derived products occurs in numerous occupations, everyday life, and hobbies. Animal contact can cause allergic, irritant, or toxic skin reactions, parasitic infestations, and zoonoses. Skin hazards, especially from insect, reptile, and marine life, differ greatly in different climatic areas. Proteins of animal origin constitute a major group of allergens able to cause immediate-type IgE-mediated contact urticaria (CU) or protein contact dermatitis (PCD) and less often delayed-type allergic contact dermatitis (ACD). Contact urticaria (CU) can be either immunologic (IgE-mediated) or non-immunologic and refers to a wheal-and-flare reaction appearing usually within 30 min of contact with the causative agent. The clinical picture of protein contact dermatitis (PCD), although IgE-mediated, is chronic contact eczema, but there can be acute phases of pruritus and wheals within minutes of skin contact with the causative animals or animal products. High-risk occupations are those that work in direct or indirect contact with animals like farmers, veterinarians, health and animal care workers, food industry, or in any occupations dealing with natural environments. Any proteins of animal origin are potentially sensitizing. This chapter concentrates on skin problems encountered from contact with live animals. Individually tailored skin tests for both immediate and delayed allergies, and often also specific IgE in blood, are needed for diagnosing allergy to animals or animal products. Commercial test materials can give false-negative results. Skin tests should be made, if possible, with the same materials and in the same format as have been causing the skin problems.


Amniotic fluid Animal proteins Child care Contact urticaria Dairy farming Fish bait Fishing industry Forestry Health care Insects Laboratory animals Marine life Parasitic infestations Patient-supplied materials Pet food Protein contact dermatitis Research laboratories Seafood Zoo animals Zoonoses 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of DermatologyNorth Carelia Central HospitalJoensuuFinland

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