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Allergol Immunopathol (Madr). 2013 Sep-Oct;41(5):320-36. doi: 10.1016/j.aller.2013.03.005. Epub 2013 Jul 2.

Position document: IgE-mediated allergy to egg protein.

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Allergy Department, H General Universitario, Valencia, Spain.


Egg is the food that most often causes allergy in young Spanish children, with an incidence of 2.4-2.6% in the first 2 years of life. The prevalence of sensitisation and allergy to egg is greater in children with allergy to cow's milk and in those suffering atopic dermatitis. The protein component from egg white is the cause of the allergic response in child. The major allergens in egg white are ovomucoid and ovalbumin. Most of the allergic reactions affect the skin, followed by gastrointestinal and respiratory systems. Egg allergy is one of the most common causes of severe anaphylaxis. The diagnosis of egg allergy is based on the existence of a suggestive clinical history, a positive allergy study and the subsequent application of controlled exposure testing, which represents the gold standard for confirming the diagnosis. The treatment of egg allergy is based on the avoidance of egg protein intake. A subgroup of egg-allergic patients are tolerant to cooked egg. In these cases, only uncooked egg must necessarily be avoided. Maintaining a diet with strict egg avoidance is difficult, and transgressions are relatively common. The patient, family, and school environment should receive education and training in the avoidance of egg and in the management of possible allergic reactions. With an avoidance diet, up to 15-20% of children will remain allergic and the severity of the reactions will increase over the years. In these more severe cases of egg-allergy, it becomes more difficult to adhere to the avoidance diet over the years, with a significant decrease in patient quality of life. Oral tolerance induction can be regarded as a therapeutic option for IgE-mediated egg allergy. The anti-IgE, omalizumab, might become another genuine therapeutic option for food allergy, not only to prevent allergic reactions after a contact with egg, but also as a complementary treatment to oral tolerance induction for egg allergy, with the purpose of reducing adverse reactions. The administration of influenza vaccine to children with egg allergy is safe in children that do not manifest severe reactions after egg intake, and in children who tolerate cooked egg. The triple viral vaccine (MMR) can be given to egg-allergic children in their usual vaccination centre, with no added risk. Different medicinal products can be formulated with egg proteins, and therefore should be avoided in children with egg allergy.


Children; Diagnosis; Egg allergy; Food allergy; Oral immunotherapy; Outcomes; Tolerance; Treatment; Vaccines

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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