In Infants with Egg or Milk Allergy, Can Future Peanut Allergy Be Predicted?

May 10, 2010, National Institutes of Health

(PhysOrg.com) -- Early results from a study of more than 500 infants with egg or milk allergy indicate that they are highly likely to test positive for allergic antibodies that are specific to peanuts. This unexpected finding suggests that these infants are at risk for developing peanut allergy later in life and should be evaluated by a health care professional before introducing peanuts into their diet.

The findings appear in the May issue of the . These are the first published results from the clinical group of the Consortium of Food Allergy Research (CoFAR), a major food allergy research program supported by the National Institute of Allergy and (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health.

Eggs, milk and peanuts are the three most common for infants. An infant who already has a milk or egg allergy is known to be at risk for later developing a peanut allergy. Another risk factor for peanut allergy is moderate to severe eczema (). This is the first systematic study, however, of the natural development of these three food allergies in very young children.

This observational study has enrolled infants between 3 and 15 months old. All have immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies to egg or milk. Some of these infants have known clinical allergy to eggs or milk, some have moderate to severe eczema, and some have both allergy and . None of the infants has known peanut allergy. These infants will 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 made two unexpected observations: More of the infants have elevated levels of IgE antibody to peanuts than the investigators had anticipated, and some of these infants 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 products into their child's diet.

NIAID established CoFAR in 2005 to develop new approaches to treat and prevent . The consortium is composed of five clinical sites, led by investigators at Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, and include Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C.; Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, Baltimore; National Jewish Health, Denver; and University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock. Funding for CoFAR will be renewed in June 2010. More information on the consortium may be found at https://web.emmes.com/study/cofar/index.htm .

More information: 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).

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Onions could hold key to fighting antibiotic resistance

January 22, 2018
A type of onion could help the fight against antibiotic resistance in cases of tuberculosis, a UCL and Birkbeck-led study suggests.

New long-acting approach for malaria therapy developed

January 22, 2018
A new study, published in Nature Communications, conducted by the University of Liverpool and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine highlights a new 'long acting' medicine for the prevention of malaria.

Virus shown to be likely cause of mystery polio-like illness

January 22, 2018
A major review by UNSW researchers has identified strong evidence that a virus called Enterovirus D68 is the cause of a mystery polio-like illness that has paralysed children in the US, Canada and Europe.

Creation of synthetic horsepox virus could lead to more effective smallpox vaccine

January 19, 2018
UAlberta researchers created a new synthetic virus that could lead to the development of a more effective vaccine against smallpox. The discovery demonstrates how techniques based on the use of synthetic DNA can be used to ...

Study ends debate over role of steroids in treating septic shock

January 19, 2018
The results from the largest ever study of septic shock could improve treatment for critically ill patients and save health systems worldwide hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

New approach could help curtail hospitalizations due to influenza infection

January 18, 2018
More than 700,000 Americans were hospitalized due to illnesses associated with the seasonal flu during the 2014-15 flu season, according to federal estimates. A radical new approach to vaccine development at UCLA may help ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.