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The Prevalence of Peanut Allergy in British Children at School Entry Age in 2003


<p>Mothers were approached via schools and they and their child were recruited with written informed personal and parental consent. The mothers were asked in personal interviews about their own and their family's allergic conditions, their recall of the COT advice and their own peanut consumption during pregnancy and breastfeeding Children were evaluated for maternal recall of their peanut consumption in infancy, current or resolved allergic conditions and for sensitisation to common food and aeroallergens.</p>

<p>All children with positive screening skin prick tests (SPTs) to peanut were offered a formal double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenge with peanut to confirm the diagnosis.</p>

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<p>Background: The UK prevalence of sensitisation to peanut was found to be 1.3% in a single-centre birth cohort born in 1989-90. In a later cohort, born in 1995, the prevalence had more than doubled, as reported by the same centre. The 1998 COT report advised pregnant mothers and infants from atopic families to avoid peanuts. It is not known what effect this advice has had on the dietary habits of atopic and non-atopic mothers, or if its intended effect on the prevalence of peanut sensitisation in their offspring has been realised.</p>

<p>The study investigated approximately 2000 UK children born between March 1999 (9 months after the COT report) and March 2000. Children were evaluated for peanut allergy and sensitisation to other potential allergens and their mothers were asked about their own peanut consumption during pregnancy and breastfeeding. </p>

University of Southampton
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