Study: Many peanut allergy diagnoses may be false

Mar 11, 2011

Previous estimates showing a high rate of peanut allergies around the world may be inaccurate.

The high rate of peanut allergies worldwide may not be accurate, according to a recent study in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

The study found that, though peanut allergies in some areas have been reported to be as high as two out of 100 children, the more accurate figure is about one tenth lower than that.

Researchers looked at General Practitioner records in England for approximately 3 million patients between 2001 and 2005. Out of those files, only one or two children out of every 1000 under the age of 15 had been diagnosed with a peanut allergy. When the data was expanded to include adults, only two out of every 4,000 patients were found to have the allergy.

These results do not allow for cases that were not reported by a general practitioner, researchers admitted. However, they believe it is more accurate than other estimates, which rely on self-reported allergic reactions that may not technically be allergies, but milder symptoms based on a general sensitivity to the food.

Since there is always the potential of accidentally consuming food containing harmful ingredients, it is important for those with food allergies to take extra precautions concerning life insurance and related preparations, should they perish as a result.

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