Fish fumes could have sparked NJ boy's fatal allergic reaction

Posted: Updated:

Medical authorities say fumes from fish cooking in his grandmother's kitchen may have caused an allergic reaction that killed an 11-year-old Piscataway boy.

The New York City medical examiner's office is investigating the New Year's Day death of Cameron Jean-Pierre in Brooklyn.

The boy's father, Steven Jean-Pierre, says Cameron suffered from asthma and was allergic to fish, and that the family carried a nebulizer machine to treat attacks.

Cameron and his father were visiting relatives when the boy was stricken, apparently after inhaling aromas from a traditional Caribbean fish dish that his grandmother and aunt were cooking.

Steven Jean-Pierre said Friday that he used the nebulizer but for some reason the treatment did not work.

Allergy experts say a severe allergic reaction from smelling fumes is possible but rare.

"The allergic proteins that are in some of these foods, they're heat stable,” says allergist Dr. Shaan Waqar. “Some of those proteins will maybe become aerosolized. Kids who are very sensitive can have an allergic reaction just inhaling the fumes of the food basically."

A new study found that 10 percent of Americans suffer from food allergies. The three most common types of food allergies among the people who participated in the study included allergies to shellfish, milk and peanuts.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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