Peanut allergies may be on the rise in Quebec
The rationale for the Quebec study was to estimate the prevalence of peanut allergy in an heterogeneous population of Montreal schoolchildren between 5-9 years of age. Final study results will soon be submitted for publication. However, preliminary findings, presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology by MUHC clinicians, Dr. Rhoda Kagan and Dr. Ann E. Clarke, already offer groundbreaking results.
"We show that the prevalence of peanut allergies in Quebec children is higher than anticipated", says Dr Ann E. Clarke, MUHC immunologist and a senior investigator of the study. "Data analysis for the first year of our 2-year study shows that the prevalence in Montreal of peanut allergies is about 1.5 percent, whereas most previous North American and European estimates were about 0.5 percent. This means that in a school of 1000 students, 15 children will be affected, instead of 5. "
Clarke and her colleagues evaluated approximately 8000 elementary students from 63 Montreal primary schools. The parents of the students were asked to fill out questionnaires about the types of peanut foods that the children ate or the type of reaction that children experienced. Some children had additional allergy tests and food challenges.
Peanut is the main cause of fatal food anaphylaxis. "We must try to minimize this risk," states Dr. Rhoda Kagan who believes that, " Future research must focus on preventing this allergy and finding treatm
Contact: Christine Zeindler