Rate of fatal anaphylaxis in the United States: A 12 year review


Target Audience: Those with allergy and their families

Summary: There has been a lot of news in the media of late relating to food-related allergy.  The tragic deaths of a number of young adults from food-related anaphylaxis has raised the profile of the condition, but also increased concern amongst families living with allergic disease. This recent article reviewing deaths from allergic reactions in the US over a 12 year period highlights that anaphylaxis remains a relatively rare cause of death, and that reactions to drugs (medications) are the most likely cause.

Article Source: Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology

Published Date: December 2014

Article Link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091674914011907


Over a 12 year study period (1999-2010) there were  2458 anaphylaxis-related deaths. Drug (medication) related allergy were the most common cause (59%), followed by unspecified (19%), venom (15%) and food (7%). The overall prevalence of fatal anaphylaxis for recent years in the United States was 0.69 persons per million, similar to that seen in Australian.

Over the course of the study there was an increase  in fatal drug-induced anaphylaxis , which further highlights the importance of identifying and documenting drug allergies. Like a number of other article that I have commented on this also shows that death due to allergies is far more common in older people (especially those 80 years and over) than in children.

This is a well researched article showing that death due to food related allergy has not dramatically increased in the US despite many more people presenting with allergies- a fact that will be comforting to many parents out there.

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