METHODS: We reviewed 250 patient charts with positive SPT to rabbit epithelia. Patients were questioned on rabbit sightings around their neighborhood. Nearly all patients with positive rabbit skin test had noticed rabbits in their vicinity but denied physical contact.
RESULTS: The invasive S. floridanus outnumbers the native S. transitionalis. There is an increased incidence of positive SPT in children and adults. Cross-reactivity of rabbit epithelia to cats were considered and discarded as not all patients had SPT reactivity to cats, dogs, or rodents.
CONCLUSIONS: We hypothesize that the increasing level of positive SPT results is from airborne exposure to rabbit proteins from increasing S. floridanus population. Besides allergic rhinosinusitis symptoms, rabbits are also known to spread other vector-borne diseases such as the tularemia outbreak in Martha’s Vineyard in 2000. Identifying and controlling the rabbit populations are necessary to curtail further spread of such diseases.