According to Health24.com, Dr Claudia Gray of the Allergy & Asthma Clinic at the Red Cross Children's Hospital in Cape Town, and Dr Shiang-Ju Kung of the Division of Allergy & Immunology at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in the USA, discussed the rapid increase in food allergy incidence in South Africa in the latest edition of Current Allergy & Clinical Immunology journal.
In view of the dramatic increase in childhood food allergy in other countries, a study was conducted in Cape Town to determine the prevalence of allergy to foods such as cow's milk, hen's egg, peanuts, cashew nuts, soya, wheat and codfish, in 100 randomly selected children suffering from atopic dermatitis (also known as eczema) - a condition regarded as a risk factor for food allergy. The average age of the children in the Cape Town study was 3 ¾ years. It was found that peanuts were the most common trigger (26%), followed by egg (24%). Interestingly, fish (3%) and cow's milk (2%) allergies were much less common.
Gray and Kung concluded that the prevalence of food allergy among this high-risk population of young South African patients suffering from atopic dermatitis is high, and that the incidence of food allergies appears to be equivalent to the incidence found in other westernised countries. Such increases in food allergy have also been recorded in other African countries such as Ghana, Health24 reports.
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