Study says 1 in 13 US children have food allergy

Posted June 19, 2011, at 7:25 p.m.

CHICAGO — Food allergies affect about one in 13 U.S. children, double the latest government estimate, a new study suggests.

The researchers say about 40 percent of them have severe reactions — a finding they hope will erase misconceptions that food allergies are just like hay fever and other seasonal allergies that are troublesome but not dangerous.

Overall, 8 percent of the children studied had food allergies; peanuts and milk were the most common sources. That translates to nearly 6 million U.S. children.

The most recent government estimate, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was based on in-home interviews and found that about 3 million children were affected, or about 4 percent. Other estimates based on different methods have ranged from 2 percent to 8 percent.

The new study, funded by an advocacy group, is based on online interviews with parents of kids younger than age 18 and involved 40,104 children. Research firm Knowledge Networks conducted the survey. Families were recruited through random telephone dialing.

Results were released online Monday in Pediatrics.

75-year-old woman in critical condition after being attacked by pit bulls

SAN DIEGO — A 75-year-old woman is in critical condition at a San Diego hospital with possibly “life-threatening” injuries from being attacked by two pit bulls, police said Saturday.

The woman was in her backyard Saturday morning in the Paradise Hills neighborhood when the two dogs, owned by a neighbor, came into her yard through a hole in the fence, police said. The woman was bitten repeatedly on the legs and an arm.

The woman screamed for her husband, who rushed into the yard, causing the dogs to retreat to their owner’s yard, police said.

The dogs were confiscated and euthanized by the county Department of Animal Control. Police and Animal Control officers are investigating.

UN: 15 wounded in Darfur fighting

KHARTOUM, Sudan — The U.N. says at least 15 people have been wounded in an armed clash in the troubled Darfur region.

A U.N. statement Sunday said it was not known how many people were killed in the clash between “unknown armed men and the Sudanese Armed Forces.” It said 15 wounded were evacuated by helicopter from the fighting in north Darfur state near Shangil Tobaya.

Sudan’s government had no immediate comment.

The U.N. said about 1,000 civilians fled the scene of the battle, and all but 40 returned to their homes afterward.

The background of the clash was not immediately clear. Clashes between Sudanese government forces and rebels erupt frequently in Darfur, the scene of mass killings and attacks that forced hundreds of thousands to flee in past years,

New report shows early chaos at Japan nuke plant

TOKYO — A new report says Japan’s tsunami-ravaged nuclear plant was so unprepared for the disaster that workers had to bring protective gear and an emergency manual from distant buildings and borrow equipment from a contractor.

The report, released Saturday by plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co., is based on interviews of workers and plant data. It portrays chaos amid the desperate and ultimately unsuccessful battle to protect the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant from meltdown, and shows that workers struggled with unfamiliar equipment and fear of radiation exposure.

The March 11 earthquake and tsunami destroyed the plant’s power and crucial cooling systems, causing three reactor cores to melt and causing several explosions.

TEPCO has been criticized for dragging its feet on venting and sea water cooling — the two crucial steps that experts say could have mitigated the damage. Company officials have said the tsunami created obstacles that were impossible to anticipate. An investigation by an independent panel is pending.

 

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