Forty six children presented with colitis between 1977 and 1981, and all 8 of those below the age of 2 years had food allergic colitis which resolved completely after exclusion of certain foods. In most of the 8 the onset was soon after starting foods other than breast milk. The most common offending food was cows' milk protein, but soya (3 cases) and beef (1 case) were also implicated. A history of allergy in the child or family was common as were blood eosinophilia, high concentrations of serum IgE, and positive IgE antibodies. Colonoscopic appearances were distinctive and biopsies showed a noticeable increase in eosinophils and IgE-containing cells in the lamina propria. We suggest that food allergy is the major cause of colitis in infancy and that an exclusion diet is the treatment of choice.
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