Objective: To review the literature on the prevalence of beef allergy in children allergic to cow's milk and to report a series of patients with beef allergy evaluated for cow's milk allergy.
Data sources: A MEDLINE search for cow's milk allergy and beef allergy was conducted. Also included in this report is a clinical evaluation of both these entities in a population of children with atopic dermatitis.
Study selection: Data from the literature were summarized. Recruited patients with beef allergy were evaluated on the basis of history, serology, skin prick tests, and double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenge (entry criterion), and presented between 1992 and 2000.
Results: In the literature, between 13 and 20% of children with cow's milk allergy also have beef allergy. In our personal series of patients, 28 children (18 boys and 10 girls) diagnosed with beef allergy underwent skin prick tests and double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenge, which showed that 26 (92.9%) were allergic to cow's milk. Two children nonallergic to cow's milk were the only ones who were not sensitized to bovine serum albumin.
Conclusions: Most children with beef allergy are also allergic to cow's milk and should avoid the consumption of dairy products. Sensitization to bovine serum albumin is a marker of cow's milk allergy in children with beef allergy. Elimination of beef from the diet of children with cow's milk allergy should be evaluated on an individual basis after diagnostic workup.