Food Allergy in Ghanaian Schoolchildren: Data on Sensitization and Reported Food Allergy

Benedicta B. Obeng, Abena S. Amoah, Irene A. Larbi, Maria Yazdanbakhsh, Ronald van Ree, Daniel A. Boakye, Franca C. Hartgers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle*Academicpeer-review

Abstract

Background: Epidemiological data on food allergy are scarce in African countries. We studied the prevalence of food sensitization in Ghanaian schoolchildren. Methods: Children (5-16 years; n = 1,714) from 9 Ghanaian schools were given parental consent to participate in the study. Adverse reactions and food consumption were determined by a questionnaire and atopy by skin prick testing (SPT) to peanut and 6 fruits. Subjects with positive SPTs were considered cases (n = 43) and matched with at least 1 control (n = 84), using age, sex, and school as matching criteria. Serum samples from case-control sets were analyzed for specific IgE (sIgE) to foods that elicited a positive SPT response in cases. Results: Overall, 11% of 1,407 children reported adverse reactions to foods, and 5% of 1,431 children showed a positive SPT reaction mostly directed against peanut and pineapple (both 2%). Although there was a positive association between adverse reactions and SPT responses to any food allergen in the urban children (adjusted OR = 3.6, 95% CI 1.2-10.8), most of the reported adverse reactions were not in children showing an SPT reaction to the specific food item. sIgE sensitization was very variable for the different foods, ranging from 0 to 100% in cases, and from 0 to 25% among controls. High IgE levels for a food item significantly increased the risk of SPT positivity to any food item in the urban, but not in the rural, schoolchildren. Conclusions: Specific foods were identified to be allergenic in Ghana. We show a good association between SPT and sIgE in urban, but not in rural, schoolchildren. However, there was no clear association between reported adverse reactions to food and SPT or sIgE
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-73
JournalINTERNATIONAL ARCHIVES OF ALLERGY AND IMMUNOLOGY
Volume155
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Cite this