Table of Contents
International Scholarly Research Notices
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 639796, 5 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/639796
Research Article

Prevalence of Self-Reported Food Allergy in Lebanon: A Middle-Eastern Taste

Hôtel-Dieu de France, Saint Joseph University, Beirut, Lebanon

Received 11 August 2015; Revised 2 November 2015; Accepted 2 December 2015

Academic Editor: Michael Wallner

Copyright © 2015 C. Irani and G. Maalouly. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Background. Food allergy (FA) is an important health problem in Western countries but there is limited data on the prevalence of food allergy in the Middle East. The main objective of our study is to assess the prevalence of self-reported food allergy in Lebanon. Methods. The survey was conducted by Telephone Calls questionnaire through random selection of landline phone numbers from the white pages all over Lebanon. A study questionnaire addressing the main objectives of the study was filled during the telephone call conversation. Results. Food allergy prevalence is estimated to be 4.1% in infants and children and 3.2% in adults. 65% of patients suffering from food allergy are females and 35% are males. Skin reactions are the most common symptoms among food allergy sufferers, reported in 86% of the cases. Signs of anaphylaxis appeared in 10.8% of cases. Fruits were the most common allergens at 35%, followed by eggs (19%) and nuts (16%). Cow’s milk and spices ranked fourth (14%). Only half of food allergy sufferers sought medical advice. Allergists, dermatologists, gastroenterologists, or GPs (general practitioners) were consulted. Blood testing for specific IgE was the main diagnostic tool used by physicians. Conclusion. This is a pilot study of self-reported food allergy prevalence in Lebanon based on telephone survey. General prevalence is estimated to be 4.1% in infants and children and 3.2% in adults. Our study may improve awareness for proper diagnosis, food elimination, and acquisition of epinephrine autoinjectors in this part of the world.