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Peanut allergies in Indonesia & Thailand

I found an on-line article saying that Indonesia and Thai children don’t suffer peanut allergies in spite of peanuts being a large part of their diet. This seemed interesting. There are four possibilities:

1. They don’t immunize their children like we do

2. They do immunize but the vaccines are not made using peanut meal so they only have food allergies relating to other foods that are used to feed the cultures

3. They do immunize like we do, the vaccines are made the same, and my theory is wrong.

4. I’m not wrong. Indonesia and Thai children are immunized the same as in the US and they do suffer peanut
allergies and it is a big problem.

To start off here is the quote:

Adding to the confusion is that in countries like Indonesia and Thailand, where peanuts are ubiquitous, there is virtually no peanut allergy,

First, I need to know if the Thai children follow a similar immunization schedule. I searched the internet for the immunization schedule for Thai children:

The Thai Immuniation schedule for Children

There are only 2 vaccines given at the time of birth:

BCG (for TB)

Hepatitis B

So the HBV1 is followed-up at month 2 or 3 with HBV2 then HBV3 at 6-12 months

DTP1/PV1/Hib1 and optionally RV1 (rotavirus) at month 2

The second of the above 2 months immunisations at 4 months and the 3rd at 6 month but without RV

JE and MMR at 9-12 months with JE having 2 at 2 weeks apart.

Flu at 6 months

Var at 12 months onwards and Hep A at 2.5 years onwards

  Well, they follow pretty much the same vaccination schedule that we do so #1 is out.

Moving on to #2. I have no way of finding out where the Thai get their vaccines manufactured. So I cannot check on that part. Next question is do the Thai children have food allergies which I believe are due to the immunizations.

I searched and I found the study that is being quoted as proving that the Thai children have no peanut allergies.

Prevalence of Adverse Food Reactions and Food Allergy among Thai Children

Introduction: Adverse food reactions are not uncommon among children. Several of these reactions are IgE-mediated. Prevalence of adverse food reactions among Thai children has not been fully explored.

Conclusion: Prevalence of adverse food reactions using food allergy questionnaire was 6.25%. From a limited number of those with positive food challenges, prevalence of IgE-mediated food allergy among this group of Thai children is estimated to be 0.45% (CI 0.01-0.8%)….

Prevalence of food hypersensitivity among Asian Children has been less well studied. In a food registry in Japan reported by Ebisawa et al, 1522 immediate food hypersensitivities were reported among Japanese children(10)….

Common foods reported to be the cause of reactions among younger children were cow’s milk and eggs whereas seafood, particularly shrimp, was the most commonly reported food for older children. [Which would leave me to believe that their vaccinations were grown on cow's milk and egg cultures and NOT peanut meal - bfg]

It is intriguing that reaction to peanut was not reported from any participant in our study. As stated earlier, it is possible that we dismissed sick young children and those with atopic tendency from our study. However, lack of peanut reaction among young children was observed in the report from Singapore despite relatively common allergy skin reactions to peanuts among Singaporean children (15). It is also could be due to the fact that peanut is introduced somewhat later in life and to relative scarcity in using peanut butter as ingredients for daily food for infants and children within the Asian region. Most peanuts consumed within this part of the world were prepared by boiling rather than roasting and it has been demonstrated that peanut allergens could have been made more allergenic by roasting than boiling(16, 17)….

  OK…. this is the big study of 656 children which started by eliminating a number of allergic children…. They dismissed sick young children and those with atopic tendency?… Singapore has a common skin allergy to peanuts but that is called a lack of peanut reaction among young children? I’m confused here. It shows up in the skin prick test but not when they eat the peanut? But the study also reads that perhaps the children were not fed any peanuts. It sounds like they were relying on the families to feed the children and report back and only then were a few children chosen to undergo further allergy testing. Also that young children were not fed peanuts? So overall, I don’t think that from this particular study that you can conclude that there are no food allergies to peanuts in these children.

So, I found this study did not prove that these children did not suffer from peanut allergies. I continued my search this time googling “Singapore peanut allergy”. Bingo! Found better information.

Food Allergy in Singapore: Is there a problem?

Dr Chiang Wen Chin, Associate Consultant, Paediatric Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology, Department of Paediatrics, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital

A worrying trend is revealed by the relatively high prevalence of peanut hypersensitivity, now constituting almost a third of patients presenting for the diagnosis and treatment of food allergy in KK Hospital, Singapore. Both the clinical characteristics and peanut protein specific allergen determination suggest a phenotype that is similar to that of European and North American patients, although of less severity. Efforts must be made to educate our population and to increase the awareness of food allergy and its treatment, especially in the use of Epipen in the case of anaphylaxis. A major revision of labelling laws and regulations is also urgently needed in Asia.

  Evidently, the first study was highly flawed. Peanut allergy is a major problem in Singapore. I found the following posts that also support my theory that the vaccines are the major cause of peanut allergy:

January 09, 2008 8:22 am

I was raised in a developing country and I never heard of children there having food allergies.

— SI, new york

January 09, 2008 8:59 am

Even as a mother whose son is allergic to peanut, soy, seafoods, I really don’t have any theory as to why he has the food allergies. Though reading comments here I wanted to point out that it’s not true that only kids in the US (or European countries) has food allergies. My son was born in Thailand to Thai parents–as are many kids here who have food allergies. (On this note I also wanted to added that a child in a friend’s family who was born to Pakistani parents in Pakistan also had peanut allergy as well.) — Chotiya Ahuja, Thailand

  No food allergies in the country that doesn’t have the luxuries of childhood immunizations, antibiotics, vitamins, and formula. Interesting.

So, there you have it folks. They do have a BIG problem with peanut allergies in Indonesia and Thailand. I’m NOT wrong.

Vaccinations really haven’t magically rid the world of certain illnesses. The illnesses have just changed form. Now instead of our children getting the measles…. they cough and wheeze and have to follow special diets ….. or die.

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