Time trends in Australian hospital anaphylaxis admissions in 1998-1999 to 2011-2012

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2015 Aug;136(2):367-75. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2015.05.009. Epub 2015 Jul 14.


Background: Studies from the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia have reported increased childhood food allergy and anaphylaxis prevalence in the 15 years after 1990.

Objective: We sought to examine whether childhood food allergy/anaphylaxis prevalence has increased further since 2004-2005.

Methods: We examined hospital anaphylaxis admission rates between 2005-2006 and 2011-2012 and compared findings with those from 1998-1999 to 2004-2005.

Results: Overall population food-related anaphylaxis admission rates (per 10(5) population per year) increased from 5.6 in 2005-2006 to 8.2 in 2011-2012 (a 1.5-fold increase over 7 years). The highest rates occurred in children aged 0 to 4 years (21.7 in 2005-2006 and 30.3 in 2011-2012, a 1.4-fold increase), but the greatest proportionate increase occurred in those aged 5 to 14 years (5.8-12.1/10(5) population/y, respectively, a 2.1-fold increase) compared with those aged 15 to 29 years and 30 years or older (a 1.5- and 1.3-fold increase, respectively). Not only did absolute food-related anaphylaxis admissions increase, but the modeled year-on-year rate of increase in overall food-related anaphylaxis admissions also increased over time from an additional 0.35 per 10(5) population/y in 1998-1999 (all ages) to 0.49 in 2004-2005 and 0.63 in 2011-2012 (P < .001).

Conclusions: Food-related anaphylaxis has increased further in all age groups since 2004-2005. Although the major burden falls on those aged 0 to 4 years, there is preliminary evidence for a recent acceleration in incidence rates in those aged 5 to 14 years. This contrasts with the previous decade in which the greatest proportionate increase was in those aged 0 to 4 years. These findings suggest a possible increasing burden of disease among adolescents and adults who carry the highest risk for fatal anaphylaxis.

Keywords: Food allergy; anaphylaxis; epidemiology.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anaphylaxis / epidemiology*
  • Anaphylaxis / physiopathology
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Food Hypersensitivity / epidemiology*
  • Food Hypersensitivity / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Patient Admission / statistics & numerical data
  • Patient Admission / trends*