Purpose of review: The purpose of this article is not only to review the epidemiology of anaphylaxis and factors that affect the epidemiology but also to help us understand underlying mechanisms and predisposing factors. This, in turn, has a bearing on efforts related to prevention and management.
Recent findings: The purpose of this review is to assess the incidence of anaphylaxis and to review the factors that affect this incidence, with special reference to the most common causes, drugs and foods. Factors affecting the incidence are geographic location, sex, atopy, and socioeconomic status. Although no exact incidence, based upon available data, can be established, it is reasonable to assume that 1-2% of the population may be affected. Also, clearly, there is underreporting of episodes. Finally, the incidence of anaphylaxis appears to be increasing.
Summary: The exact incidence of anaphylaxis is unknown, but appears to be increasing. Foods and drugs are the most common causes. The incidence is affected by geographical location, sex, atopy, and socioeconomic factors.