HealthDay News — Infants of a particular generation born in Australia to Asian-born parents appeared to have an increased risk of peanut allergy compared with those of Australian-born parents, according to research published in Allergy.
“Asian infants appear to be over-represented among patients with clinical food allergy in Australia, but this has not been formally examined at the population level,” noted Jennifer J. Koplin, PhD, of the University of Melbourne in Australia, and colleagues.
To quantify the differences in prevalence of peanut allergy by parental country of birth and contribution of environmental exposures to these differences, the investigators screened 5,276 patients with skin prick tests for peanut allergy. Sensitive infants underwent food challenge.
Infants with a parent or parents born in East Asia were more likely to have peanut allergy (odds ratio [OR], 3.4; 95% CI: 2.2-5.1) than those with two parents born in Australia.
Peanut allergy was not more common in infants with a parent or parents born in the United Kingdom or Europe (OR, 0.8; 95% CI: 0.4-1.5). Notably, Asian parents had lower rates of allergic disease.
About 30% of the increase in peanut allergy among infants of Asian parents was explained by a higher prevalence of eczema, and 18% was explained by differences in dog ownership.
“The high peanut allergy prevalence among infants of Asian-born parents appears to have occurred in a single generation and was not present among infants with parents migrating from other countries, suggesting gene-environment interactions are important,” concluded the researchers.