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Keywords:

  • food allergy;
  • sesame;
  • tolerance;
  • skin prick test;
  • specific IgE;
  • oral challenge

Sesame food allergy (SFA) in children is an increasingly recognized one in many countries. Our objective was to describe the course and natural history of SFA. Seventy-four patients sensitized to sesame were evaluated using clinical records, questionnaires, skin prick tests (SPT), in vitro specific immunoglobulin (sIg) E, and oral challenges (OC) and categorized into three groups: group A: patients who experienced allergic reaction after ingestion of sesame-containing food (n = 45); group B: patients evaluated for atopic dermatitis and found to be sesame SPT-positive (n = 11); group C: patients with sensitization to sesame allergen (n = 18). Group A patients were followed for an average of 6.7 yr. Analysis of our results revealed that 76% of patients in group A developed the allergy by the age of 2. The median age at onset of allergy in these patients was 1 yr. Immediate reaction to a minimal amount of sesame was characteristic. Skin was the most common site of involvement, followed by respiratory and gastrointestinal systems. Tolerance developed in only 20% of the patients. High sIgE (>0.15 IU) was demonstrated only in 75% of those in which it was examined. Sixteen patients performed oral sesame food challenge which was found positive in 88%. No correlation was found between the size of SPT and the level of in vitro sesame IgE antibodies, the outcome of OC results, and the development of tolerance to sesame. In conclusion, SFA tends to appear early in life, but unlike cow's milk and egg allergy, persists in 80% of the cases. Typical reactions combined with positive sesame SPT are reliable for diagnosis.