Background and aims Food allergies (FA) are two to three times more common in children than in adults and it is the first cause of anaphylaxis. The aims of this study are to describe the characteristic of FA in our country.
Methods Retrospective study over a period of 5 years (2009–2013) collected cases of FA in the paediatric department of Sfax.
Results There were 45 cases (sex ratio=2). The mean age at onset of symptoms was 5 months. The symptoms were triggered by ingestion of the food in all cases and contact and inhalation (4 cases). They were digestive symptoms (33 cases), cutaneous (23 cases), respiratory symptoms (8 cases) and anaphylaxis (4 cases). Skin prick tests were performed in 29 cases and Atopy patch test (9 cases). Oral food challenge was performed in 14 patients. Cow’s milk protein allergy (CMAP) was the most common allergy (33 cases), followed by egg (6 cases), fish (4 cases), peanuts (4 cases), nuts (3 cases), sesame (2 cases) and goat milk (1 case). 5 children had multiple FA. After a mean follow-up of 21 months, the acquisition of tolerance was complete in 18 patients and partial in 7 cases with tolerance of cooked foods. A desensitisation protocol was started in 4 patients with persistent CMAP, with a full acquisition of tolerance in one case and partial (2 cases). Asthma associated with FA was the only risk factor for persistent allergy in our study.
Conclusion FA is increasing in our country. CMPA is the most common allergy (73%). The results of oral desensitisation in persistent FA are encouraging.