Epidemic alert: infant food allergies

WHEN Sydney allergist Professor Dianne Campbell saw the results of a new study suggesting one in 10 Australian infants had a food allergy, she was relieved. 

“We all feel like numbers have increased significantly over recent years,” says the chair of paediatric allergy and clinical immunology at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.

“Many clinics are booked solid for at least a year and, certainly anecdotally, it wasn’t that hard to get an appointment with a specialist 20 years ago.

“It is great to finally have our clinical suspicions confirmed, and to finally have a baseline prevalence of current food allergy in Australian urban infants,” she says. 

“So few studies have been able to document prevalence rates so solidly.”

The study of more than 2800 infants, known as the HealthNuts study, found a higher than expected prevalence of challenge-confirmed food allergy (10