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Peanut and tree nut allergy

Sicherer, Scott H. MD; Sampson, Hugh A. MD

Allergy, immunology, and related disorders

Among foods causing allergic reactions in children, peanut (a legume) and tree nuts (ie, walnut, hazel nut, Brazil nut, pecan) have attracted considerable attention for several reasons. Allergies to these foods are common, frequently have an onset in the first few years of life, generally persist, and account for severe and potentially fatal allergic reactions. Furthermore, the ubiquity of these foods in the diet makes avoidance difficult and accidental ingestions, with reactions, common. This review discusses recent and emerging information on the prevalence, clinical characteristics, natural history, genetic basis, and current treatment of these allergies. In addition, recent advances in the molecular and immunologic characteristics of these allergens, and novel therapeutic options under investigation in animal models, are reviewed.

The Elliot and Roslyn Jaffe Food Allergy Institute, Division of Allergy and Immunology, Department of Pediatrics, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York, USA

Correspondence to Scott H. Sicherer, MD, Division of Allergy/Immunology, Mount Sinai Hospital, Box 1198, One Gustave L. Levy Place, New York, NY 10029-6574, USA; e-mail:

© 2000 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.