Adult food-induced anaphylaxis hospital presentations in New Zealand

Postgrad Med J. 2016 Nov;92(1093):640-644. doi: 10.1136/postgradmedj-2015-133530. Epub 2016 Apr 6.


Background: Food allergy including anaphylaxis is an increasing clinical problem in many countries. Little information is available regarding prevalence, causative foods and time trends in the New Zealand adult population.

Objective: This cross-sectional study investigated the incidence of hospital presentation with food-induced anaphylaxis in New Zealand among adults and adolescents over a 10-year period.

Methods: Ministry of Health hospital discharge data from 2002 to 2011 were analysed using food allergy and anaphylaxis-related International Classification of Diseases (ICD) codes to identify acute hospital presentations.

Results: There was an average annualised rate of hospital food-induced anaphylaxis presentations of 4.8 per 100 000 adults (aged ≥15 years) for the period reviewed. Subgroup analyses revealed significant differences by gender, age group and ethnicity, notably higher rates in females, younger adults (15-34 years) and Pacific Island populations. Seafood was the most common food allergen group, followed by nuts. Time trend analysis revealed a 1.7-fold increase in the 10-year period, mainly attributable to an increase in rates in the Pacific Island population.

Conclusions: These data confirm food-induced anaphylaxis as an increasing problem in New Zealand and show significant differences in incidence of hospital presentation in different ethnic populations. Future research will be required to understand and address disparities in the incidence of these conditions.

Keywords: EPIDEMIOLOGY; New Zealand; anaphylaxis; food allergy; hospital presentations.