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Keywords:

  • allergy;
  • bronchial asthma;
  • epidemiology;
  • food allergy;
  • guideline;
  • immunology;
  • Japan;
  • oral food challenge;
  • oral immunotherapy;
  • pediatrics

Abstract

The Japanese Society of Pediatric Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JSPACI) was started in 1966 and currently has 3613 members as of August 1, 2012. The number of pediatricians specializing in allergies who have been certified by the Japanese Society of Allergology is 817. Among these, there are 125 training directors and training facilities for allergy and clinical immunology. The JSPACI first published an asthma guideline specific for children in 2000, and this has been revised every 3 yrs, contributing to better control of pediatric asthma. Food allergy management guidelines were first developed in 2005, which have helped to improve the care of food allergy patients. Among 514 pediatric training programs by the Japanese Society of Pediatrics, there are 312 facilities routinely performing oral food challenges. Among these, there were already 53 facilities performing oral immunotherapy at the end of 2011, treating 1400 cases of food allergy. The prevalence of pediatric allergic diseases has increased in Japan over the past 50 yrs. A number of International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood surveys have been conducted in the past at specific times. The prevalence of wheezing among children aged 13–14 yrs in 2002 was 13.0%. Multi-year surveys found a 1.5- to 2-fold increase every 10 yrs until 2002. However, according to the latest data in 2012, asthma prevalence seems to have slightly decreased in Japan. Food allergy mainly associated with infantile atopic eczema among infants younger than 1 yr of age is the most common form as with other developed countries. The estimated food allergy prevalence based on data from several surveys is 5–10% among infants (0–6 yrs) and 1–2% among schoolchildren (6–15 yrs). A variety of patients suffering from primary deficiency syndrome have been actively analyzed. Previously, antibody defects and well-defined syndromes with immunodeficiency were analyzed, but recent research is focusing on not only acquired immune disorders but also on innate immune disorders. In contrast to the widespread use of oral immunotherapy, one immediate issue is to develop and reassess subcutaneous and sublingual immunotherapies for mite and Japanese cedar pollen antigens that have been disused in Japan since the 1990s.