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Clin Exp Allergy. 2002 Oct;32(10):1515-9.

High incidence of adverse reactions to egg challenge on first known exposure in young atopic dermatitis children: predictive value of skin prick test and radioallergosorbent test to egg proteins.

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Dipartimento di Scienze Pediatriche e dell'Adolescenza, Università di Torino, Ospedale Infantile Regina Margherita, Torino Italy.



Egg skin prick test (SPT) and/or radioallergosorbent test (RAST) positivity has been described in infants and children with a food allergy, or in infants at high risk of atopy who have never eaten eggs. Clinical reactions are also observed when some of these children or infants eat eggs for the first time.


A prospective study was made of 107 atopic dermatitis (AD) children (66 boys, 41 girls) aged 1-19 months (median 5 months) who had never ingested egg, to compare the outcome of a first oral egg challenge and the results of albumen and yolk SPTs and RASTs.


The egg challenge (conducted at age 12-24 months: mean 16 months, median 15 months) was positive in 72/107 children (67.3%). The reactions were immediate or early (first 6 h) in 56/72 (77.8%). The most severe (all within the first 6 h) were one case of anaphylactic shock (1.4%), three cases of laryngeal oedema (4.1%) and one serious attack of asthma (1.4%). The skin weal diameter at and above which reactions always occurred was 5 mm for both albumen and yolk. They were, however, also observed in the complete absence of a weal. The outcome of the challenge was always positive when the specific IgEs (sIgE) for albumen and yolk were > 99 KU/L and > or = 17.5 KU/L, respectively. Here, too, reactions were noted even when sIgE levels were < 0.35 KU/L.


AD children who have never eaten eggs may be sensitized and display reactions at the first ingestion. The percentage of reactions in this series was by no means negligible. These findings were observed in children with mild as well as moderate-severe AD when first examined. SPT for albumen and yolk diameter > or = 5 mm, and sIgE for albumen > 99 KU/L and for yolk > or = 17.5 KU/L were 100% specific in predicting the outcome of the challenge. It may thus be concluded that children with AD whose SPT and/or RAST for albumen and/or yolk are equal to or higher than these cut-off values should not be subjected to the oral challenge when consideration is given to the introduction of egg in their diet. Even when these cut-offs are not reached, however, clinical reactions to the challenge cannot be ruled out a priori, and it should be preferably performed in a protected environment, such as a hospital.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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