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Peanut Allergy Prevalence

By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD

Peanut allergy is one of the most common food allergies found worldwide. In the Western world, the prevalence can be as high as 1 in 200 individuals in some populations. In the United Kingdom, peanut allergy is present in between 0.4 and 0.6% of the whole population.

Studies show that peanut allergy forms around 28% of all food allergies in children and develops before the child reaches their first birthday in about half of cases. The allergy rarely develops after 15 years of age (in only 7% of cases).

Anaphylaxis

Peanut allergy is one of the largest known causes of food allergy induced anaphylaxis, the most severe form of allergic reaction. Anaphylaxis is a life threatening condition that needs immediate treatment. In a 2001 report, it was found that of 32 anaphylaxis cases recorded in a US national registry, the peanut allergen caused 14 reactions and was a possible trigger of a further 6.

China

While peanut allergy looks like a serious problem in the West, it is much less common in other regions of the world, especially China. In Beijing for example, food allergies make up only 3.4 to 5.0% of all allergies and are triggered by fish, shrimp, seaweed, and crab, but not the peanut. However, the Chinese-American population in the USA has a similar prevalence of peanut allergy as other US populations.

Australia

In Australia, severe peanut reaction has a prevalence of only 0.25% and fatalities in those aged under five years are rare. A study of 456 Tasmanian children, for example, showed that no child reacted to peanut protein.

Reviewed by , BSc

Further Reading

Last Updated: Sep 29, 2013

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