oa Current Allergy & Clinical Immunology - Increasing trend of sensitisation to food and inhalant allergen sources in Zimbabwe : original research article

Volume 26, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1609-3607



Diseases that result from allergic reactions are common worldwide. Their frequency and associated triggers are rarely documented in Africa. We have summarised the findings of an audit of 981 laboratory test results of patients attending a specialist allergy clinic in Harare, Zimbabwe. The majority of the patients were children or young adults. The serological tests correlated well with skin-prick test findings. The test panels included 11 inhalants (housedust mites, pollen, animal hair and moulds) and 22 food-allergen sources, including egg, milk, grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables. Serological reactivity to allergen sources was found in all age groups tested. A steep increase in the numbers of allergic patients was noted among those born in the last 30 years, while the number of people with moderate to severe allergic diseases doubled with each subsequent decade from 1980 to 2010. The most significant inhalant-allergen sources were house-dust mites and pollen. House-dust mite sensitisation exceeded 50% in some age groups. Sensitisation to was more prevalent than sensitisation to . Grass-pollen allergy was more frequently diagnosed than allergy to tree and weed pollen, and was found in 30% of patients in certain age groups. The numbers of people with food-allergen sensitisation were lower than those with house-dust mite or pollen allergy. The most prominent food-allergen sources were potato (16%) and peanuts (15%). This study confirms the persistence of inhalant allergic diseases in Zimbabwe and reports the increasing prevalence of food allergy. It is also shown that in some cases (peanut, potato) sensitisation does not translate to clinical manifestations of disease.

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