Increasing anaphylaxis admissions; a shifting burden to older children and adolescents

Published Online: July 13, 2015

Observational studies from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia have shown that food allergy and anaphylaxis have increased over the last 20 years, particularly in very young children aged 0-4 years.

In a recent issue of The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI), Mullins and colleagues investigated whether anaphylaxis admissions had continued to increase in the last decade, and whether the rates of increase affected all age groups equally. The authors examined all anaphylaxis admissions in Australian hospitals for the 14 years between July 1998 and July 2012. Total anaphylaxis admission rates (all causes) increased from 6.3/100,000 population in 1998/99 to 10.6 in 2004/5 to 17.7 in 2011/12. Food anaphylaxis admissions increased from 2/100,000 population in 1998/99 to 4.5 in 2004/5 and 5.6 in 2011/12. While the highest admission rates remained in very young children aged 0-4 years, there was a significant acceleration in the rates of increase in older children aged 5-14 years and adolescents/young adults aged 15 to 29 years.

These findings indicate that the epidemiology of anaphylaxis is changing over time. The study also highlights the long-term public health implications of an increasing number of older children and teenagers with likely lifelong food allergy in whom the risk of fatal anaphylaxis was more likely.

The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI) is an official scientific journal of the AAAAI, and is the most-cited journal in the field of allergy and clinical immunology.

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