An update on epidemiology of anaphylaxis in children and adults

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Abstract

Purpose of review

The purpose of the present review is to describe the epidemiology of food-induced, medication-induced, drug-induced, and insect sting-induced anaphylaxis; to summarize recent changes in the incidence of anaphylaxis internationally; and to discuss recent insights into potential risk factors for anaphylaxis.

Recent findings

Recent studies confirm that the incidence of anaphylaxis, particularly food-induced anaphylaxis, is increasing world-wide. The rise in anaphylaxis incidence appears most pronounced in children under the age of 5 years, which is also the age group most at risk of hospitalization for food-induced anaphylaxis. Identification of factors that may increase the risk of episodes of anaphylaxis remains an important research priority. Recently, two large cohort studies using data from electronic medical records confirmed that individuals with asthma are at higher risk of anaphylaxis and those with severe asthma have the highest risk of all. With respect to modifiable lifestyle factors, several studies have demonstrated a link between latitude and anaphylaxis, with areas with less year-round sunlight reporting a higher prevalence of food-induced anaphylaxis.

Summary

Reports of an increasing incidence of anaphylaxis internationally highlight the need for identification of modifiable risk factors for anaphylaxis. Emerging evidence suggests that low vitamin D levels may be associated with risk of anaphylaxis and food allergy; however, further studies are required to confirm this.

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