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

Children's Medical Center, Taipei Veterans General Hospital
Internal Medicine Journal (Impact Factor: 1.64). 04/2012; 42(12). DOI: 10.1111/j.1445-5994.2012.02820.x
Source: PubMed


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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    • "However, this rate dropped to 1.1% after oral food challenge tests among children aged 3-7 years.3 The self-reported prevalence of FA in a study conducted in Taiwan was 3.4% in children under 3 years of age and 7.7% in children aged 4-18 years.4 Several recent studies have also provided the prevalence of FA in Korean children. "
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    ABSTRACT: There are scanty epidemiologic data on the prevalence of food allergy (FA) among preschool children in Asia. We performed this study to determine the prevalence and causative foods of immediate-type FA in early childhood in Korea. A questionnaire-based, cross-sectional study was performed between September and October 2011. Children aged 0-6 years were recruited from 301 public child care centers in Seoul. Parents were asked to complete a questionnaire on FA. Children with FA were classified into "perceived FA, ever," "immediate-type FA, ever," and "immediate-type FA, current" according to the algorithm. A total of 16,749 children were included in this study. The prevalence of "perceived FA, ever," "immediate-type FA, ever," and "immediate-type FA, current" was 15.1%, 7.0%, and 3.7%, respectively. "Immediate-type FA, current" was reported by 182 (4.9%) out of 3,738 children aged ≤2 years, 262 (3.4%) of 7,648 children aged 3-4 years, and 177 (3.3%) of 5,363 children aged 5-6 years. Hen's egg (126/621) was the most frequent cause as the individual food item, followed by cow's milk (82/621) and peanut (58/621). Among the food groups, fruits (114/621), tree nuts (90/621) and crustaceans (85/621) were the most common offending foods. The three leading causes of food-induced anaphylaxis were hen's egg (22/47), cow's milk (15/47), and peanut (14/47). The prevalence of immediate-type FA in early childhood is 3.7%, and is higher in younger children. The most common offending foods differed with age.
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    • "There have also been relatively few studies to determine food allergy prevalence based on a specific IgE testing in combination with a convincing clinical history, however these report food allergy rates in a similar range as the OFC-based studies [25-29]. In preschool children food allergy prevalence based on history and food-specific IgE was 3.2% in northern Europe (Sweden) [27] with very similar rates in Asia (3.4% in Taiwan) [26] (Figure 2). However, the prevalence in older children (based on symptoms and IgE testing) varied from only 0.3% (in Korea) [25] to 5.3% in Sweden [27] and 7.6% in Taiwan [26] (Figure 2). "
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    ABSTRACT: While food allergies and eczema are among the most common chronic non-communicable diseases in children in many countries worldwide, quality data on the burden of these diseases is lacking, particularly in developing countries. This 2012 survey was performed to collect information on existing data on the global patterns and prevalence of food allergy by surveying all the national member societies of the World Allergy Organisation, and some of their neighbouring countries. Data were collected from 89 countries, including published data, and changes in the health care burden of food allergy. More than half of the countries surveyed (52/89) did not have any data on food allergy prevalence. Only 10% (9/89) of countries had accurate food allergy prevalence data, based on oral food challenges (OFC). The remaining countries (23/89) had data largely based on parent-reporting of a food allergy diagnosis or symptoms, which is recognised to overestimate the prevalence of food allergy. Based on more accurate measures, the prevalence of clinical (OFC proven) food allergy in preschool children in developed countries is now as high as 10%. In large and rapidly emerging societies of Asia, such as China, where there are documented increases in food allergy, the prevalence of OFC-proven food allergy is now around 7% in pre-schoolers, comparable to the reported prevalence in European regions. While food allergy appears to be increasing in both developed and developing countries in the last 10--15 years, there is a lack of quality comparative data. This survey also highlights inequities in paediatric allergy services, availability of adrenaline auto-injectors and standardised National Anaphylaxis Action plans. In conclusion, there remains a need to gather more accurate data on the prevalence of food allergy in many developed and developing countries to better anticipate and address the rising community and health service burden of food allergy.
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    • "In contrast, the prevalence of wheat allergy prevalence is low in other parts of Asia. It was reported to be 0.08% less than one year olds in Korea, and in large population studies in Taiwan [10], Hong Kong [59], and China [12], the number wheat allergic children was uncommon. More recently, however, wheat allergy is increasingly reported from Thailand, with a report of 7 children described as having wheat anaphylaxis in Bangkok, Thailand in 2005 who demonstrated positive wheat skin prick test and IgE level results [60]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Asia is a populous and diverse region and potentially an important source of information on food allergy. This review aims to summarize the current literature on food allergy from this region, comparing it with western populations. A PubMed search using strategies "Food allergy AND Asia", "Food anaphylaxis AND Asia", and "Food allergy AND each Asian country" was made. Overall, 53 articles, published between 2005 and 2012, mainly written in English were reviewed. The overall prevalence of food allergy in Asia is somewhat comparable to the West. However, the types of food allergy differ in order of relevance. Shellfish is the most common food allergen from Asia, in part due to the abundance of seafood in this region. It is unique as symptoms vary widely from oral symptoms to anaphylaxis for the same individual. Data suggest that house dust mite tropomysin may be a primary sensitizer. In contrast, peanut prevalence in Asia is extremely low compared to the West for reasons not yet understood. Among young children and infants, egg and cow's milk allergy are the two most common food allergies, with prevalence data comparable to western populations. Differences also exist within Asia. Wheat allergy, though uncommon in most Asian countries, is the most common cause of anaphylaxis in Japan and Korea, and is increasing in Thailand. Current food allergy data from Asia highlights important differences between East and West, and within the Asian region. Further work is needed to provide insight on the environmental risk factors accounting for these differences.
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