Rhinoconjunctivitis and asthma caused by corn plant (Dracaena fragrans)

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Abstract

Background:

Respiratory symptoms caused by decorative flowers have seldom been reported in the literature.

Objective:

To describe a housewife who experienced episodes of asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis, and contact urticaria in relation to corn plant (Dracaena fragrans) in her home.

Methods:

Skin prick testing (SPT) was performed with extract from the leaves of D fragrans and a standard battery of aeroallergens. An air sampler was installed close to the plant in her house. We performed skin, conjunctival, and bronchial provocation tests with the extract of D fragrans. Serum specific IgE was measured using enzyme allergosorbent testing.

Results:

The patient showed positive SPT reactions to the D fragrans extract at a concentration of 0.05 mg/mL. Results of SPT with the extract prepared from the Air Sentinel filter were also positive. Skin provocation testing with the leaves of corn plant on the patient's forearm provoked dense wheal formation. The conjunctival provocation test response was positive to an antigen concentration of 0.05 mg/mL. The peak expiratory flow rate varied by 20% to 40% on exposure days and by 5% to 10% on nonexposure days. The bronchial provocation test response was positive to an antigen concentration of 0.5 mg/mL. Specific IgE to D fragrans extract was 15.1 kUA/L.

Conclusions:

These findings strongly suggest that an IgE-mediated immunologic mechanism is responsible for the patient's respiratory and cutaneous symptoms in relation to corn plant.

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