Involuntary Hippophagia (2): Horsemeat and Hamsters

Improbable readers may be familiar with the Pork-Cat Syndrome (a link between allergic sensitivity to pork meat and cat epithelia), details of which were first published in 1994.

Hamster_HorsePerhaps less well known though is the Horsemeat-Hamster Syndrome, which could have implications for those who have been exposed to the current UK outbreak of Involuntary Hippophagia. [‘Unintended ingestion of a horse, or part thereof.’] A study explains:

Meat allergy and cross-reactivity with hamster epithelium,” A. Cisteró-Bahíma, E. Enrique, M. M. San Miguel-Moncín, R. Alonso, J. Bartra, B. Fernández-Parra, M. Lombardero, D. Barber, Allergy, Volume 58, Issue 2, pages 161–162, February 2003. The authors report:

“We report the case of a woman with asthma related to hamster exposure, and with food allergy due to horse meat…. A 39-year-old woman referred a recent episode of lip angioedema after eating horse meat. She tolerated other types of meat. She had experienced asthma due to cat epithelia and oral pruritus after ingesting rabbit meat as a child. Since the introduction of a hamster at home in the previous year, she has suffered from asthma…. This case is interesting because the patient began with asthma related to cat exposure, and later the meat allergy appeared. After avoiding exposure to cats the patient was able to tolerate meat. After the second exposure to epithelium (from the hamster), she developed asthma and oral syndrome to horse meat.”