Changes in Australian food anaphylaxis admission rates following introduction of updated allergy prevention guidelines

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2022 Jul;150(1):140-145.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2021.12.795. Epub 2022 Jan 22.


Background: Food anaphylaxis admission rates have increased steadily in recent decades. Global food allergy prevention guidelines recommending early introduction of allergenic foods were introduced in 2015-2016. Australian guidelines to not delay the introduction of allergenic foods were introduced in 2007-2008.

Objective: Our aim was to examine whether introduction of Australian guidelines (2007-2008) and global allergy prevention guidelines (2015-2016) were associated with reductions in food anaphylaxis admission rates.

Methods: We compared food anaphylaxis admission rates across 3 periods: 1998-1999 to 2006-2007, 2007-2008 to 2014-2015, and 2015-2016 to 2018-2019.

Results: Annual food anaphylaxis admission rates increased 9-fold between 1998-1999 and 2018-2019, from 2.0 per 105 population to 18.2 per 105 population; the highest absolute rates were in those younger than 1 year. When year-on-year rates of change were examined across the 3 time periods, the annual rate of increase slowed after 2007-2008 in those aged 1 to 4 years (17.6%, 6.2%, and 3.9% per year, respectively) and those aged 5 to 9 years (22%, 13.9%, and -2.4%, respectively), and after 2015-2016, in those aged 10 to 14 years (17.5%, 18.0%, and 10.8%, respectively). By contrast, the year-on-year rate of increase accelerated in those younger than 1 year (5.2%, 8.0%, and 18.0%, respectively) and in all age groups older than 15 years.

Conclusions: Although food anaphylaxis continues to increase overall, there is preliminary evidence indicating a slowing in the year-on-year rate of increase among those aged 1 to 4, 5 to 9, and 10 to 14 years, coinciding with introduction of updated infant feeding and allergy prevention guidelines in 2007-2008 and 2015-2016. Changes to the guidelines may have contributed to an attenuated rate of increase in food anaphylaxis in these age groups, as well as to increased rates in those younger than 1 year.

Keywords: Food allergy; anaphylaxis; epidemiology; feeding guidelines; food anaphylaxis admissions.

MeSH terms

  • Allergens
  • Anaphylaxis* / epidemiology
  • Anaphylaxis* / prevention & control
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Food Hypersensitivity* / epidemiology
  • Food Hypersensitivity* / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Infant


  • Allergens