An expert panel sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, issued clinical guidelines to aid health care providers in early introduction of peanut-containing foods to infants to prevent the development of peanut allergy.
Peanut allergy is a growing health problem for which no treatment or cure exists. People living with peanut allergy, and their caregivers, must be vigilant about the foods they eat and the environments they enter to avoid allergic reactions, which can be severe and even life-threatening. The allergy tends to develop in childhood and persist through adulthood. However, recent scientific research, notably the ITN-sponsored landmark LEAP Study showed that regular peanut consumption begun in infancy and continued until 5 years of age led to an 81 percent reduction in development of peanut allergy in infants deemed at high risk because they already had severe eczema, egg allergy or both.
The new Addendum Guidelines for the Prevention of Peanut Allergy in the United States, which recommend early introduction of peanut-containing foods to infants to prevent the development of peanut allergy, supplement the 2010 Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Food Allergy in the United States. The Addendum Guidelines appear January 5 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and have been widely reported on in the press.