alexa Prevalence and main characteristics of schoolchildren diagnosed with food allergies in France.


Journal of Allergy & Therapy

Author(s): Ranc F, Grandmottet X, Grandjean H

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BACKGROUND: A cross-sectional, descriptive, questionnaire-based survey was conducted in Toulouse schools to determine the prevalence of food allergies among schoolchildren. OBJECTIVES: The first goal of the survey was to estimate the prevalence of food allergies. The second goal was to determine the main characteristics of the allergies.

METHODS: The questionnaires (3500) were distributed in 150 classes in eight schools. The return rate was 77.6% (2716).

RESULTS: Of the 192 (7.0%) questionnaires with a 'Yes' response (report of a food allergy), 182 were retained as reporting true food allergies (6.7%). The cumulative and point prevalences were 6.7% [95% confidence interval (CI) 5.8-7.6] and 4.7% [95% CI 3.9-5.5], respectively. The point prevalences were 4.0% for the children aged 2-5 years, 6.8% for the children aged 6-10 years, and 3.4% for the children aged 11-14 years. The main foods reported as causing adverse reactions were cow milk (n = 29, 11.9%), eggs (n = 23, 9.4%), kiwis (n = 22, 9.0%), peanuts (n = 20, 8.2%), fish (n = 19, 7.8%), tree nuts (n = 19, 7.8%), and shrimp (n = 13, 5.3%). The average age at which the allergies were detected was 3.4+/-2.8 years (with a range of 0.1-12 years). The clinical signs of the food allergies were cutaneous (n=153, 62.7%), digestive (n = 74, 30.3%), respiratory (n = 17, 6.9%), and anaphylactic shock (n = 12, 4.9%).

CONCLUSION: While well aware of the biases inherent in this type of study, we estimated the cumulative and point prevalences of food allergies in a population of school-age children in Toulouse at 6.7% and 4.7%, respectively. Cow milk, eggs, and peanuts were the main foods reported as causing allergies. Exotic fruits, shellfish, and tree nuts appeared to be relatively new allergens.

This article was published in Clin Exp Allergy and referenced in Journal of Allergy & Therapy

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