Contact Allergy to Propolis in Beekeepers
Allergologia et Immunopathologia, Volume 37, Issue 6, November-December 2009, Pages 298-301
Background: Allergy to propolis seems to be rare and little is known about it.
Objective: The aim of the study was to survey a subset of affected beekeepers to determine aspects such as time of onset of disease, comorbidity, and possible methods of prevention.
Methods: With the help of two German journals for beekeepers we contacted 41 beekeepers with propolis allergy. They were sent a questionnaire which assessed several aspects of the disease and was based on the current literature.
Results: 70.7% returned our questionnaire and had clear signs of propolis allergy with positive testing by their local allergologists. They reported that allergy had developed after an average of 9.5 years beekeeping. We also found a high prevalence of other allergies (72.4%). Interestingly, there were also systemic reactions to propolis in some beekeepers but not necessarily when using propolis as a medication against other diseases. Beekeepers believed that solvents used to clean the hands could play a role in the development of the disease.
Conclusion: This study provides new insights into allergy to propolis. The hypothesis that solvents used to clean the hands could play a role in the development of the disease should be addressed in future studies.