Immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated cow’s milk allergy (CMA) is one of the most common food allergies in infants and young children. CMA can result in anaphylactic reactions, and has long term implications on growth and nutrition. There are several studies in diverse populations assessing the epidemiology of CMA. However, assessment is complicated by the presence of other immune-mediated reactions to cow’s milk. These include non-IgE and mixed (IgE and non-IgE) reactions and common non-immune mediated reactions, such as lactose intolerance. Estimates of prevalence and population-level patterns are further complicated by the natural history of CMA (given its relatively high rate of resolution) and variation in phenotype (with a large proportion of patients able to tolerate baked cow’s milk). Prevalence, natural history, demographic patterns, and long-term outcomes of CMA have been explored in several disparate populations over the past 30 to 40 years, with differences seen based on the method of outcome assessment, study population, time period, and geographic region. The primary aim of this review is to describe the epidemiology of CMA. The review also briefly discusses topics related to prevalence studies and specific implications of CMA, including severity, natural course, nutritional impact, and risk factors.
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