Anaphylaxis and ethnicity: Higher incidence in British South Asians

R. J. Buka, R. J. Crossman, C. L. Melchior, A. P. Huissoon, S. Hackett, S. Dorrian, M. W. Cooke, M. T. Krishna*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background The incidence of anaphylaxis in South Asians (Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnicity) is unknown. Birmingham is a British city with a disproportionately large population of South Asians (22.5%) compared with the rest of the UK (4.9%). The main aims of this study were to determine the incidence and severity of anaphylaxis in this population and to investigate the differences between the South Asian and White populations. Methods A retrospective electronic search of emergency department attendances at three hospitals in Birmingham during 2012 was carried out. Wide search terms were used, medical notes were scrutinized, and the World Allergy Organization diagnostic criteria for anaphylaxis were applied. Patients' age, sex, ethnicity and home postal code were collected, reactions were graded by severity, and other relevant details including specialist assessment were extracted. Multivariate analysis was undertaken using 2011 UK census data. Results Age-, sex- and ethnicity-standardized incidence rate of anaphylaxis was 34.5 per 100 000 person-years. Multivariate logistic regression which controlled for the confounders of age, sex and level of socioeconomic deprivation showed that incidence was higher in the South Asian population (OR 1.48, P = 0.005). Incidence rate in the South Asian population was 58.3 cases per 100 000 person-years compared to 31.5 in the White population. South Asian children were more likely to present with severe anaphylaxis (OR 5.31, P = 0.002). Conclusions Incidence of anaphylaxis is significantly higher in British South Asians compared to the white population. British South Asian children are at a greater risk of severe anaphylaxis than White children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1580-1587
Number of pages8
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015


  • anaphylaxis
  • epidemiology
  • ethnicity
  • incidence
  • South Asian


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