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Perth to trial peanut clinics for infants

AAP logoAAP 12/10/2016 Lisa Robinson

Medically-supervised 'peanut clinics' are being set up to test whether exposing infants to the potentially deadly nut can help reduce rising allergy rates.

Perth doctors are setting up the clinics and hope to test 400 infants and compare the incidence of peanut allergy between children exposed early and those exposed later.

Three per cent of all one-year-olds are allergic to peanuts.

"Peanut allergy is the most common cause of severe food allergy and is extremely distressing and potentially deadly," WA Health Minister John Day said in a statement.

Current guidelines recommend children be exposed to peanut as early as four-months-old because early exposure is known to reduce the risk of developing the allergy in later childhood.

But Mr Day said only 20 per cent of children at high risk of developing peanut allergy are being exposed at home within the optimal time frame.

"Unfortunately, parental apprehension at introducing peanuts is delaying exposure for many children," he said.

The peanut allergy project will be led by Dr Michael O'Sullivan, a consultant immunologist with Princess Margaret and Fiona Stanley hospitals, and is expected to start in March.

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