Ghana Medical Journal

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Gastrointestinal food allergy in Ghanaian children: a case series

Taiba J. Afaa, Adwoa K. A. Afrane, Victor Etwire


Background: Food allergy is an adverse health effect arising from a specific immune response that occurs reproducibly on exposure to a given food. Food allergies are classified into three types: Ig(immunoglobulin)E mediated, mixed IgE and cell mediated and cell-mediated non IgE mediated. Gastrointestinal (GIT) food allergy has classically
encompassed a number of different clinical entities: food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES), food protein-induced proctocolitis (FPIP), food protein-induced enteropathy and eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders (EGID).

Case presentations: These are 5 cases of infants and toddlers who presented with various features of gastrointestinal food allergies, the commonest of which is lower gastrointestinal bleed. Two infants on exclusive breast feeding, presented with lower gastrointestinal bleeding and these resolved with maternal dietary milk and all dairy elimination. The third infant had rectal bleeding at age 6 months after the introduction of infant formula. The bleeding and eczema resolved with the introduction of hydrolyzed formula. One of the toddlers presented with severe eczema and malnutrition which improved with 6 food elimination. The last case had massive lower gastrointestinal bleed which resulted in hemicolectomy with no improvement until dietary elimination was instituted.

Conclusion: Gastrointestinal food allergy is not uncommon in children in Ghana. A high index of suspicion is required to make the right diagnosis, to minimize morbidity and unnecessary therapy.

Keywords: Food allergy, infant, children, gastrointestinal, bleeding.

Source of funding: None
AJOL African Journals Online