Egg and milk-allergic children more likely to develop later peanut allergy

Early results from a study by the Consortium of Food Allergy Research, a major food allergy research program supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health, looked at more than 500 infants with egg or milk allergy adn found that they are highly likely to test positive for allergic antibodies that are specific to peanuts – so could be at risk of develping peanut allergy later in life. Another risk factor for peanut allergy is moderate to severe eczema.

The study enrolled infants between 3 and 15 months old, all with immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies to egg or milk. Some of these infants had known clinical allergy to eggs or milk, some moderate to severe eczema, and some both allergy and eczema. None of the infants had known peanut allergy. The infants will now be followed until 5 years of age to see if their allergy to milk or eggs continues or resolves, and to see if they develop an additional allergy to peanuts.

As part of the initial assessment of the infants, the CoFAR investigators measured the level of IgE antibody to peanuts. They found that more of the infants already have elevated levels of IgE antibody to peanuts than they had anticipated, and some have such high levels that they may already be allergic to peanuts without their parents being aware of it.

The researchers encourage parents of children with egg or milk allergy to talk to their doctor before incorporating peanuts or peanut products into their child’s diet.

SH Sicherer et al. Immunologic features of infants with milk or egg allergy enrolled in an observational study (CoFAR) of food allergy. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2010.02.038 (2010).

Courtesy of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

First published in May 2010


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