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Keywords:

  • adults;
  • challenge;
  • children;
  • food hypersensitivity;
  • prevalence;
  • unselected

A rising prevalence of food hypersensitivity (FHS) and severe allergic reactions to food has been reported the last decade. To estimate the prevalence of FHS to the most common allergenic foods in an unselected population of children and adults. We investigated a cohort of 111 children <3 yr of age, 486 children 3 yr of age, 301 children older than 3 yr of age and 936 adults by questionnaire, skin prick test, histamine release test and specific immunoglobulin E followed by oral challenge to the most common allergenic foods. In total, 698 cases of possible FHS were recorded in 304 (16.6%) participants. The prevalence of FHS confirmed by oral challenge was 2.3% in the children 3 yr of age, 1% in children older than 3 yr of age and 3.2% in adults. The most common allergenic foods were hen's egg affecting 1.6% of the children 3 yr of age and peanut in 0.4% of the adults. Of the adults, 0.2% was allergic to codfish and 0.3% to shrimp, whereas no challenges with codfish and shrimp were positive in the children. The prevalence of clinical reactions to pollen-related foods in pollen-sensitized adults was estimated to 32%. This study demonstrates the prevalence of FHS confirmed by oral challenge to the most common allergenic foods in an unselected population of children and adults.