Sensitization to milk, egg and peanut from birth to 18 years: A longitudinal study of a cohort at risk of allergic disease

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Abstract

Background:

Longitudinal data on the natural history of food sensitization beyond early childhood are scarce. We aimed to investigate the natural history of milk, egg and peanut sensitization from infancy to 18 years and assess whether early food sensitization predicted adolescent food allergy.

Methods:

Sensitization to cow's milk, hen's egg and peanut was measured by skin prick testing at ages 6 months, 1, 2, 12 and 18 years in a high-risk allergy birth cohort (n = 620). Generalized additive models investigated interactions with sex, eczema and aeroallergen sensitization in infancy. Logistic regression assessed the relationships between early food sensitization and adolescent sensitization and probable food allergy up to 18 years.

Results:

The prevalence of egg and peanut sensitization peaked at 12 months, while milk sensitization peaked at both 1 and 12 years. Boys with early eczema had the highest prevalences of milk and egg sensitization throughout follow-ups. However, neither sex nor eczema influenced the prevalence of peanut sensitization over time. New onset food sensitization beyond the age of 2 was observed in 7% of participants.

Results:

Food sensitization at 12 months was associated with increased risk of adolescent food sensitization and adolescent probable food allergy, with sensitization to more than one food allergen had the strongest predictor.

Conclusions:

Food sensitization prevalence is highest in infancy and declines after 12 months of age. Boys with early-life eczema have the highest prevalence of milk and egg sensitization. Food sensitization at 12 months can predict children at greater risk of adolescent sensitization and probable food allergy at 12 and 18 years.

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