Background: Data on specific IgE sensitization prevalence in children with allergy-like symptoms seen in the primary care setting are rare. Early diagnosis of allergic diseases is important to prevent clinical manifestations, exacerbations or expansion of allergic diseases to other organ systems. The present study aims to assess the usefulness of early serological diagnosis in children with common allergic symptoms. Methods: 532 children (5 years of age) to discriminate atopic from non-atopic subjects. A blood sample of atopic subjects was taken for additional 6-26 specific IgE antibody determinations from a predefined panel using the ImmunoCAP® System. Results: 267 children (50.2 %) were positive in the initial test and were classified as atopic. 14 % were mono-sensitized, 37 % were sensitized to 2-3 allergens and 49 % to more than 3 allergens. The average number of symptoms in the atopic group was 3.3 vs 2.8 in the non-atopic group. The prevalence of sensitization to single allergens was highest for grass and ragweed pollen and house-dust mites (19-28 %). Sensitization to tree allergens was highest for olive tree (16.5 %). Cow's milk and egg white were the most sensitizing foods (~15 %). Food allergen sensitization predominated in younger children (OR = 2.8) whereas the inverse occurred with inhalant allergens (OR = 2.5 to 5.6). A significant positive correlation between patient age and the number of sensitizations was found. Conclusions: Specific IgE sensitization in children with allergy-like symptoms is common. Multiple sensitization is predominating. Number of clinical symptoms was higher in the atopic group compared to the non-atopic without a correlation with the number of positive allergens. Age seems to play a crucial role in the development of sensitization with a significant positive correlation between patient age and the number of sensitizations.
- Primary Care
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health