Article

Prevalence of Food Allergy in Taiwan: A Questionnaire-based Survey.

Children's Medical Center, Taipei Veterans General Hospital; School of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University; Department of Medical Research and Education, National Yang-Ming University Hospital; Department of Medical Research and Education, Taipei Veterans General Hospital; Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, National Defense Medical Center; Department of Pediatrics, Taichung Veterans General Hospital; Department of Pediatrics, Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital; Department of Pediatrics, Hualien Tzu-Chi General Hospital; Department of Pediatric, Shin-Kong Memorial Hospital;
Internal Medicine Journal (Impact Factor: 1.82). 04/2012; DOI: 10.1111/j.1445-5994.2012.02820.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Aim:  Food allergy is common in children and adults, and could be potentially fatal in minor group. It's important for physicians to identify the prevalence of food allergies and to recognize common food allergens to make precise diagnosis and choose correct therapeutic approaches. Methods:  We used a nationwide, cross-sectional, random questionnaire-based survey to estimate the self-reported and expert-screened prevalence of food allergies and to identify the common food allergens in Taiwan. In this study, the perceptional diagnosis of food allergies was screened by physicians according to descriptions of convincing symptoms and medical recordings, in the meantime non-allergic adverse reactions to foods including food intolerance or food avoidance were clarified. Results:  A total of 30,018 individuals who met the Inclusion criteria were evaluated, and 6.95% of them were diagnosed as victims of food allergies. The prevalence was 3.44% in children under 3 years of age, 7.65% in children aged 4-18 years and 6.40% in adults, respectively. About 77.33% of the food allergy population had experienced recurrent allergic attacks. Systemic reactions happened about 4.89% in food allergies group. The most commonly reported food allergen in Taiwan is seafood, including shrimp, crab, fish and mollusk. In addition, mango, milk, peanuts and eggs were also important food allergens in general population; while milk, shellfish, peanuts, and eggs were common in children. Conclusion:  Less than 10% of the Taiwan population suffers from food allergy with different allergic symptoms to variable food allergens in different age groups.

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