(HealthDay News) — Infants of a particular generation born in Australia to Asian-born parents appeared to have an increased risk of peanut allergy compared with those of Australian-born parents, according to research published in the December issue of Allergy.

Jennifer J. Koplin, PhD, of the University of Melbourne in Australia, and colleagues screened 5,276 infants (74% participation) with skin prick tests for peanut allergy. Sensitive infants underwent food challenge.

The researchers found that infants with a parent or parents born in East Asia were more likely to have peanut allergy (odds ratio [OR], 3.4; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.2–5.1) than those with two parents born in Australia. Peanut allergy was not more common in infants with a parent or parents born in the United Kingdom or Europe (OR, 0.8; 95% CI, 0.4–1.5). Interestingly, Asian parents had lower rates of allergic disease. About 30% of the increase in peanut allergy among infants of Asian parents was explained by a higher prevalence of eczema, and 18% was explained by differences in dog ownership.

“The high peanut allergy prevalence among infants of Asian-born parents appears to have occurred in a single generation and was not present among infants with parents migrating from other countries, suggesting gene-environment interactions are important,” the authors write.

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