Sesame allergy in the United States affects >1 million individuals and is linked to severe reactions and food allergy-associated use of healthcare services, according to study results published in JAMA Network Open.

Using data from food allergy questionnaires, investigators conducted a cross-sectional study to characterize demographic and allergic characteristics of sesame allergy including relative frequency, severity, distribution, and associated clinical qualities.

The main outcomes were self-reported sesame allergy (allergies were plausible if consistency was observed between sesame allergy reactions and immunoglobulin E [IgE]-mediated reactions), diagnostic history of certain allergens, and the use of food allergy-related healthcare services.

A total of 40,443 adults and 38,408 children were included in the study; 273 adults and 206 children reported sesame allergy. Using survey responses, the researchers estimated that 0.49% of the US population reported sesame allergy, 0.23% met the symptom-report criteria for plausible IgE-mediated sesame allergy, and an additional 0.11% reported physician-diagnosed sesame allergy but did not report reactions that matched symptoms listed in the questionnaire.

Of the participants who had convincing IgE-mediated sesame allergy, about 23.6% to 37.2% had experienced a severe sesame-related allergic reaction before. In addition, 81.6% of these patients had at least 1 other convincing food allergy; 33.7% of these participants self-reported using epinephrine to treat their sesame allergy.

“We believe these data, which demonstrate a substantial and likely growing burden of sesame allergy in the United States, provide valuable context to physicians, policy makers, and other key stakeholders in their efforts to evaluate and reduce the public health burden of sesame allergy,” the researchers concluded.

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Reference

Warren CM, Chadha AS, Sicherer SH, Jiang J, Gupta RS. Prevalence and severity of sesame allergy in the United States. JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(8):e199144.