Patterns of sensitization to food allergens among allergic adults and children following-up in Zagazig university hospitals, Egypt
Background: Data regarding food sensitization and food allergy in developing countries are lacking. We sought to explore the frequency and pattern of sensitization to food allergens among a sample of Egyptian allergic patients. Methods: This cross-sectional study included 1373 allergic patients. They were subjected to thorough history taking, skin prick test, serum specific IgE (sIgE) level. Patients with evidence of sensitization to food were subjected to food elimination followed by an open oral food challenge (OFC) test. Results: Four-hundreds and nineteen patients (30.5%) (76 children and 343 adults) had evidence of sensitization to one or more food allergen. Among children, 41 (52.5%) had urticaria, 31 (39.7%) allergic rhinitis, 13 (16.6%) pollen food allergy syndrome, 16 (20.5%) bronchial asthma, 9 (11.5%) eczema and 7 (9%) had GIT symptoms. Among adults, 152 (44.5%) had allergic rhinitis, 149 (43.6%) urticaria and 57 (16.7%) had GIT symptoms. The most common allergens among children were peanut (31; 39.7%), fish (29; 37%), egg (18; 23%), and strawberry (17; 21.79%) while in adult, they were jalapeno pepper (123; 36%), egg (122; 35.7%), tomato (120; 35.1%), peanut (110; 32.2%), and fish (109; 31.9%). Significant associations were found between sensitization to different types of foods including associations between citrus fruits and mango, and between shrimps and crabs (p<0.001). Out of the sensitized 419 patients, 118 (28.2%) had positive OFC test. Conclusion: A significant proportion of both adults and children with allergic disorders are sensitized to foods. Pepper, peanut, egg, fish, tomato, strawberry are the most common foods to which Egyptian patients are sensitized.