COPENHAGEN, Denmark, June 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
Food allergy and anaphylaxis continue to be pending topics for patients and healthcare professionals, although 6-17% of the European population has some kind of food allergy, according to self-reported evidence.
The lack of understanding of food allergy, its impact on quality of life, the costs and reduced awareness of the potential fatality of a serious allergic reaction like anaphylaxis are the reasons that have led the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) to promote unprecedented guidelines in Europe about Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis.
The new guidelines, presented on occasion of the EAACI Annual Congress, were drafted by more than 70 experts from the world over, with the direct involvement of all EAACI sections (Paediatrics, Immunology, Dermatology, Asthma, Primary Care, etc.). Also involved were 21 international patient organisations, plus European scientific societies related to Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN), Emergency Medicine (EuSEM) and the Association for Teacher Training Europe (ATEE).
Most common food allergies
The guidelines conclude that the frequency of food allergy is greater among children than in adults and higher in north-west Europe than in the south. It also maintains that, although its incidence appears to be stable over time, its prevalence could be growing.
There were previously no reliable estimates of the prevalence of these allergies. After a systematic review of close to sixty studies and meta-analyses, the experts who participated in the guidelines conclude that the prevalence of cow's milk allergy in Europe is 6%, 3.6% for wheat, 2.5% for eggs, 0.4% for peanuts, 1.3% for nuts, 2.2% for fish and 1.3% for seafood, according to self-reported food allergy.
Anaphylaxis: potentially fatal
The prevalence of anaphylaxis is estimated at 0.3%. It is a severe generalised or systemic hypersensitivity reaction, potentially fatal, characterised by rapid onset and association with respiratory or circulatory problems and changes in the skin and mucous membranes.
According to the guidelines, its incidence is from 1.5 to 8 cases per 100,000 people per year. Its main triggers include food, drugs and insect bites, but the inducer is not identified in 20% of all cases.
All data taken from EAACI Guidelines. Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis. European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) 2014
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