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The prevalence of the oral allergy syndrome and pollen-food syndrome in an atopic paediatric population in south-west Sydney

Authors

  • Cassandra EB Brown,

    Corresponding author
    1. Faculty of Medicine, University of Western Sydney, Campbelltown, New South Wales, Australia
    • Correspondence: Dr Cassandra EB Brown, Blacktown Hospital, Blacktown Road, Blacktown, NSW 2148, Australia. Fax: +61 98723724; email: cebbrown25@gmail.com

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  • Constance H Katelaris

    1. Immunology and Allergy, Campbelltown Hospital, University of Western Sydney, Campbelltown, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Conflict of interest: None declared.

Abstract

Aim

Oral allergy syndrome (OAS) and pollen-food syndrome (PFS) are regarded as uncommon manifestations of paediatric atopic disease. However, little Australian data exist. The aim of this study was to examine the prevalence of OAS in an atopic, paediatric population.

Methods

This cross-sectional study assessed 163 patients aged 4–17 years from the Paediatric Allergy & Immunology Clinic at Campbelltown Hospital, which serves a population base >250 000 with approximately 28% under the age of 18 years. A questionnaire was administered and skin prick tests (SPTs) were performed utilising commercial extracts and fresh and frozen fruit samples. Frozen samples were created by reducing fresh fruit to a semi-solid state and storing at −20 degrees Celsius for up to 6 months.

Results

Within the studied population, the prevalence of OAS was 14.7%, PFS 4.9%, PFS in those with allergic rhinitis 6.25% and PFS in those with allergic rhinitis and pollen sensitisation 12.1%. All PFS-implicated fruits were tropical fruits with watermelon the most common. The prevalence of OAS caused by food allergy was 13.6%, implicating peanut most frequently. The most common cause of OAS was immunoglobulin E-mediated food allergy (57.9%). Only frozen samples of watermelon, pineapple and rockmelon produced results consistent with the ‘gold standard’ of fresh fruit SPT.

Conclusion

This study suggests the prevalence of OAS and PFS are more common in paediatric populations than previously described, with tropical fruits predominantly implicated in PFS. Further research is required to determine whether frozen fruits are a reliable alternative to fresh fruit in SPT.

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