According to a coroner in Quebec a severe asthma attack was responsible for the death of a 15 year old girl last November and not a peanut-contaminated kiss.
Coroner Michel Miron says Christina Desforges died in Saguenay from cerebral anoxia, or lack of oxygen to the brain triggered by a severe asthma attack and not from an allergic reaction to peanuts as was initially thought; Desforges’s boyfriend had eaten a peanut snack nine hours before kissing her.
The teenager had apparently spent hours at a party with smokers when her breathing problems began and at around 3 a.m. she complained of having trouble breathing and collapsed.
She was taken to hospital, but it is believed her brain was deprived of oxygen for 25 to 30 minutes. She was eventually taken off life support nine days later.
Coroner Miron also says that traces of the active ingredient in marijuana were found in the girl’s system, which indicates that she may have smoked some of the drug shortly before collapsing.
The teenagers death made world headlines following public speculation that her boyfriend had eaten toast spread with peanut butter shortly before kissing her.
Desforges was apparently severely allergic to nuts.
Initial reports also claimed that a shot of adrenaline had failed to save the girl’s life.
The coroner’s report says conclusively that possible traces of peanut in her boyfriend’s saliva could not have killed Desforges, since he ate the snack nine hours before kissing her.
It appears that research has found that nut allergens totally disappear from the saliva of most people within an hour.
Miron was more or less obliged to publicly deny the peanut theory in March because of growing concern that misinformation was circulating about nut allergies and that injections used to treat allergic reactions were ineffective.
Apparently the Canadian Association of Food Allergies had intended to use the Desforges case to launch an education campaign and he was forced to put the record straight.
Miron also says that Desforges had not received an adrenalin shot after the kiss.
Revision date: July 5, 2011
Last revised: by Jorge P. Ribeiro, MD