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Prevalence and clinical features of adverse food reactions in Portuguese children

Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology. 2017;13(1):1-10 DOI 10.1186/s13223-017-0212-y


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Journal Title: Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology

ISSN: 1710-1484 (Print); 1710-1492 (Online)

Publisher: BMC

Society/Institution: Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology

LCC Subject Category: Medicine: Internal medicine: Specialties of internal medicine: Immunologic diseases. Allergy

Country of publisher: United Kingdom

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML



Arminda Jorge (CICS-Health Sciences Research Centre, University of Beira Interior)

Elisa Soares (CICS-Health Sciences Research Centre, University of Beira Interior)

Emanuel Sarinho (UFPE Allergy & Clinical Immunology Research Centre, Pernambuco Federal University)

Felix Lorente (Department of Paediatrics, Salamanca University Hospital)

Jorge Gama (Department of Mathematics, Faculty of Sciences, University of Beira Interior)

Luís Taborda-Barata (CICS-Health Sciences Research Centre, University of Beira Interior)


Blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 12 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

Abstract Background The prevalence of adverse food reactions (AFR) has been increasing in the western world. Clinical manifestations are diversified and it may not be possible to clinically discriminate between IgE and non-IgE mediated AFR. In Portugal, the prevalence of AFR and food allergies in children is not known. Thus, the objectives of this study were to determine the prevalence of AFR in central Portugal. Methods Point prevalence study in 3–11 year-old schoolchildren from Central Portugal. Food-related questionnaires, skin prick tests (SPT) with foods and determination of food-specific IgE levels were performed. Results Of 4045 schoolchildren, 2474 (61.2%) accepted to be included in the study. Global prevalence of AFR was 7.1% (95% CI 6.2–8.1), based upon the initial questionnaire, 4.6% (95% CI 3.9–5.5), based upon a confirmatory questionnaire and the prevalence of probable food allergy (IgE-associated AFR: positive history + positive SPT and/or positive specific IgE) was 1.4% (95% CI 0.9–1.9). Most frequently implicated foods were fresh fruits, fish and egg. A first episode at an earlier age, mucocutaneous and anaphylactic reactions were more frequent in IgE-associated AFR. Conclusions The prevalence of probable food allergy in 3–11 year old Portuguese children from central Portugal is low and parents over-report its frequency. Most frequently implicated foods were fresh fruit and fish. Immediate type, polysymptomatic, and more severe reactions may commence at an earlier age and be more frequent in IgE-associated than in non-IgE associated reactions.