Scielo RSS <![CDATA[SAMJ: South African Medical Journal]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/rss.php?pid=0256-957420150001&lang=es vol. 105 num. 1 lang. es <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.org.za <![CDATA[<b>The humanistic side of medical education</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-95742015000100001&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es <![CDATA[<b>Editor's Choice</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-95742015000100002&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es <![CDATA[<b>Injury severity in relation to seatbelt use</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-95742015000100003&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es <![CDATA[<b>Driving innovation, leadership and change at Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-95742015000100004&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es <![CDATA[<b>Mental health under-budgeting undermining SA's economy</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-95742015000100005&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es <![CDATA[<b>Turning 'fate' into destiny by seizing a second chance at life</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-95742015000100006&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es <![CDATA[<b>Basson unrepentant as drawn-out sentencing argument begins</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-95742015000100007&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es <![CDATA[<b>SA's ailing public health sector 'responding to treatment'?</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-95742015000100008&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es <![CDATA[<b>Litigation benefits state-delivered medicine - but for how long?</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-95742015000100009&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es <![CDATA[<b>Troubled Children - Poems of Contemplation</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-95742015000100010&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es <![CDATA[<b>The Primary Health Care Approach and Restructuring of the MB ChB: A Case Study of the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-95742015000100011&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es <![CDATA[<b>The AIDS Conspiracy: Science Fights Back</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-95742015000100012&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es <![CDATA[<b>Listerial brainstem encephalitis - treatable, but easily missed</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-95742015000100013&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Listerial brainstem encephalitis (LBE) is an uncommon form of listerial central nervous system infection that progresses rapidly and is invariably fatal unless detected and treated early. We report on six adult patients with LBE, of whom five were managed or co-managed by our unit during the period January - June 2012. All presented with a short prodromal illness followed by a combination of brainstem signs, including multiple cranial nerve palsies with emphasis on the lower cranial nerves, ataxia, motor and sensory long-tract signs, a depressed level of consciousness and apnoea. In two cases the diagnosis was delayed with adverse outcomes. LBE may be difficult to diagnose: clinicians may not be aware of this condition, the brainstem location may not be recognised readily, general markers of inflammation such as the erythrocyte sedimentation rate, C-reactive protein level or white cell count may be normal, and the cerebrospinal fluid is typically normal or there are only mild and nonspecific findings. Serological tests are unreliable, and diagnosis is achieved through blood cultures, magnetic resonance imaging and clinical recognition. <![CDATA[<b>The research component of specialist registration - a question of alligators and swamps? A personal view</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-95742015000100014&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es The recent implementation of the research requirement for specialist registration presents difficulties with regard to the provision of research supervision, particularly in those medical schools that previously followed the path of qualification via the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa examinations. The differences between the requirements for research supervision as stated in the Health Professions Council of South Africa memorandum and those of the Committee for Higher Education are causing disparities between medical schools similar to those that led to the memorandum in the first place. While the research component of specialist training can only improve the quality of both patient care and academic endeavour, it requires an enormous investment of time on the part of both the specialist trainees and their supervisors. In order to deal with this, specific issues outlined in the article need to be addressed. <![CDATA[<b>No evidence for clinical utility in investigating the connexin genes <i>GJB2, GJB6 </i>and <i>GJA1 </i>in non-syndromic hearing loss in black Africans</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-95742015000100015&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: Deafness is the most common sensory disability in the world. Globally, mutations in GJB2 (connexin 26) have been shown to play a major role in non-syndromic deafness. Two other connexin genes, GJB6 (connexin 30) and GJA1 (connexin 43), have been implicated in hearing loss, but these genes have seldom been investigated in black Africans. We aimed to validate the utility of testing for GJB2, GJB6 and GJA1 in an African context. METHODS: Two hundred and five patients with non-syndromic deafness from Cameroon and South Africa had the full coding regions of GJB2 sequenced. Subsequently, a carefully selected subset of 100 patients was further sequenced for GJB6 and GJA1 using Sanger cycle sequencing. In addition, the large-scale GJB6-D3S1830 deletion was investigated. RESULTS: No pathogenic mutations that could explain the hearing loss were detected in GJB2, GJB6 or GJA1, and the GJB6-D3S1830 deletion was not detected. There were no statistically significant differences in genomic variations in these genes between patients and controls. A comprehensive literature review supported these findings. CONCLUSION: Mutations in GJB2, GJB6 and GJA1 are not a major cause of non-syndromic deafness in black Africans and should not be investigated routinely in clinical practice. <![CDATA[<b>Medical certification of death in South Africa - moving forward</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-95742015000100016&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Despite improvements to the Death Notification Form (DNF) used in South Africa (SA), the quality of cause-of-death information remains suboptimal. To address these inadequacies, the government ran a train-the-trainer programme on completion of the DNF, targeting doctors in public sector hospitals. Training materials were developed and workshops were held in all provinces. This article reflects on the lessons learnt from the training and highlights issues that need to be addressed to improve medical certification and cause-of-death data in SA. The DNF should be completed truthfully and accurately, and confidentiality of the information on the form should be maintained. The underlying cause of death should be entered on the lowest completed line in the cause-of-death section, and if appropriate, HIV should be entered here. Exclusion clauses for HIV in life insurance policies with Association of Savings and Investments South Africa companies were scrapped in 2005. Interactive workshops provide a good learning environment, but are logistically challenging. More use should be made of online training resources, particularly with continuing professional development accreditation and helpline support. In addition, training in the completion of the DNF should become part of the curriculum in all medical schools, and part of the orientation of interns and community service doctors in all facilities. <![CDATA[<b>Turning up the volume on hearing loss in South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-95742015000100017&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Despite improvements to the Death Notification Form (DNF) used in South Africa (SA), the quality of cause-of-death information remains suboptimal. To address these inadequacies, the government ran a train-the-trainer programme on completion of the DNF, targeting doctors in public sector hospitals. Training materials were developed and workshops were held in all provinces. This article reflects on the lessons learnt from the training and highlights issues that need to be addressed to improve medical certification and cause-of-death data in SA. The DNF should be completed truthfully and accurately, and confidentiality of the information on the form should be maintained. The underlying cause of death should be entered on the lowest completed line in the cause-of-death section, and if appropriate, HIV should be entered here. Exclusion clauses for HIV in life insurance policies with Association of Savings and Investments South Africa companies were scrapped in 2005. Interactive workshops provide a good learning environment, but are logistically challenging. More use should be made of online training resources, particularly with continuing professional development accreditation and helpline support. In addition, training in the completion of the DNF should become part of the curriculum in all medical schools, and part of the orientation of interns and community service doctors in all facilities. <![CDATA[<b>Cervical cancer prevention in South Africa: HPV vaccination and screening both essential to achieve and maintain a reduction in incidence</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-95742015000100018&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Despite improvements to the Death Notification Form (DNF) used in South Africa (SA), the quality of cause-of-death information remains suboptimal. To address these inadequacies, the government ran a train-the-trainer programme on completion of the DNF, targeting doctors in public sector hospitals. Training materials were developed and workshops were held in all provinces. This article reflects on the lessons learnt from the training and highlights issues that need to be addressed to improve medical certification and cause-of-death data in SA. The DNF should be completed truthfully and accurately, and confidentiality of the information on the form should be maintained. The underlying cause of death should be entered on the lowest completed line in the cause-of-death section, and if appropriate, HIV should be entered here. Exclusion clauses for HIV in life insurance policies with Association of Savings and Investments South Africa companies were scrapped in 2005. Interactive workshops provide a good learning environment, but are logistically challenging. More use should be made of online training resources, particularly with continuing professional development accreditation and helpline support. In addition, training in the completion of the DNF should become part of the curriculum in all medical schools, and part of the orientation of interns and community service doctors in all facilities. <![CDATA[<b>Hearing loss in the developing world: Evaluating the iPhone mobile device as a screening tool</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-95742015000100019&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: Developing countries have the world's highest prevalence of hearing loss, and hearing screening programmes are scarce. Mobile devices such as smartphones have potential for audiometric testing.OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the uHear app using an Apple iPhone as a possible hearing screening tool in the developing world, and to determine accuracy of certain hearing thresholds that could prove useful in early detection of hearing loss for high-risk populations in resource-poor communities.METHODS: This was a quasi-experimental study design. Participants recruited from the Otolaryngology Clinic, Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa, completed a uHear test in three settings - waiting room (WR), quiet room (QR) and soundproof room (SR). Thresholds were compared with formal audiograms.RESULTS: Twenty-five patients were tested (50 ears). The uHear test detected moderate or worse hearing loss (pure-tone average (PTA) &gt;40 dB) accurately with a sensitivity of 100% in all three environments. Specificity was 88% (SR), 73% (QR) and 68% (WR). It was highly accurate in detecting high-frequency hearing loss (2 000, 4 000, 6 000 Hz) in the QR and SR with 'good' and 'very good' kappa values, showing statistical significance (p<0.05). It was moderately accurate in low-frequency hearing loss (250, 500, 1 000 Hz) in the SR, and poor in the QR and WR.CONCLUSION: Using the iPhone, uHear is a feasible screening test to rule out significant hearing loss (PTA &gt;40 dB). It is highly sensitive for detecting threshold changes at high frequencies, making it reasonably well suited to detect presbycusis and ototoxic hearing loss from HIV, tuberculosis therapy and chemotherapy. Portability and ease of use make it appropriate to use in developing world communities that lack screening programmes. <![CDATA[<b>The Vaccine and Cervical Cancer Screen (VACCS) project: Acceptance of human papillomavirus vaccination in a school-based programme in two provinces of South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-95742015000100020&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: The incidence of cervical cancer in South Africa (SA) remains high, and the current screening programme has had limited success. New approaches to prevention and screening tactics are needed.OBJECTIVES: To investigate acceptance of school-based human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination, as well as the information provided, methods of obtaining consent and assent, and completion rates achieved.METHODS: Information on cervical cancer and HPV vaccination was provided to 19 primary schools in Western Cape and Gauteng provinces participating in the study. Girls with parental consent and child assent were vaccinated during school hours at their schools.RESULTS: A total of 3 465 girls were invited to receive HPV vaccine, of whom 2 046 provided written parental consent as well as child assent. At least one dose of vaccine was delivered to 2 030 girls (99.2% of the consented cohort), while a total of 1 782 girls received all three doses. Sufficient vaccination was achieved in 91.6% of the vaccinated cohort. Of all invited girls, 56.9% in Gauteng and 50.7% in the Western Cape were sufficiently vaccinated.CONCLUSION: This implementation project demonstrated that HPV vaccination is practical and safe in SA schools. Political and community acceptance was good, and positive attitudes towards vaccination were encountered. During the study, which mimicked a governmental vaccine roll-out programme, high completion rates were achieved in spite of several challenges encountered. <![CDATA[<b>High concentrations of natural rubber latex allergens in gloves used by laboratory health personnel in South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-95742015000100021&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es INTRODUCTION: Gloves made of natural rubber latex (NRL) are commonly used by healthcare workers because of their good qualities. However, allergic reactions to latex allergens are still commonly reported.OBJECTIVE: To measure the concentrations of Hev b 1, Hev b 3, Hev b 5 and Hev b 6.02 allergens in gloves used by a large laboratory service in South Africa.METHODS: NRL gloves as well as non-latex gloves supplied by various suppliers that were used by the laboratory personnel during the period June 2009 - May 2010 were obtained from various suppliers on the vendor list. Proteins were extracted from the gloves and Hev b 1, Hev b 3, Hev b 5 and Hev b 6.02 allergens were quantified using the FITkit assay.RESULTS: Twenty NRL gloves from 13 different brands were analysed. Only four (20%) of the 20 NRL gloves analysed had a total allergen content <0.15 μg/g, the suggested threshold limit for low allergenicity for the sum of these four allergens.CONCLUSION: This study demonstrated that a very low proportion of gloves tested had a total allergen content below the threshold for low allergenicity. <![CDATA[<b>Severe blunt thoracic trauma: Differences between adults and children in a level I trauma centre</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-95742015000100022&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: Trauma is a leading cause of death in the developing world. Blunt thoracic trauma represents a major burden of disease in both adults and children. Few studies have investigated the differences between these two patient groups.OBJECTIVE: To compare mechanism of injury, presentation, management and outcome in children and adults with blunt thoracic trauma.METHODS: Patients were identified from the database of the trauma intensive care unit at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital, Durban, South Africa. Demographics and relevant data were extracted from a pre-existing database.RESULTS: Of 415 patients admitted to the unit, 331 (79.7%) were adults and 84 (20.2%) children aged <18 years. The median injury severity score (ISS) was similar for both age groups (32 v. 34; p=0.812). Adults had a higher lactate level at presentation (3.94 v. 2.60 mmol/L; p=0.001). Of the children, 96.4% were injured in motor vehicle collisions, 75.0% as pedestrians. Compared with adults, children had significantly fewer rib fractures (20.2% v. 42.0%; p<0.001), flail chests (2.4% v. 26.3%; p<0.001) and blunt cardiac injuries (BCIs) (9.5% v. 23.6%; p=0.004), but sustained more lung contusions (79.8% v. 65.6%; p=0.013). Mortality in children was significantly lower than in adults (16.7% v. 27.8%; p=0.037).CONCLUSION: Thoracic injuries in children are the result of pedestrian collisions more often than in adults. They suffer fewer rib fractures and BCIs, but more lung contusions. Despite similar ISSs, children have significantly lower mortality than adults. More effort needs to be concentrated on child safety and preventing pedestrian injury. <![CDATA[<b>Mapping South African public health research (1975 - 2014)</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-95742015000100023&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: Since 1994, South Africa (SA) has faced up to the challenge of building a strong economy, to which public health provides an important underpinning.OBJECTIVES: To map the scientific research in public health in SA after the end of apartheid and to present the links between the different financing/funding systems.METHODS: Bibliographic analyses utilising the Web of Science of papers published during the period 1975 - 2014, analyses of journals, most cited articles, authors, publication years, organisations, funding agencies, countries and keywords, and mapping of the relations between countries involved in public health research and of the Web of Science Categories using VOSviewer.RESULTS: I accessed 2 246 articles published between 1975 and 2014, the majority of which were published after 2007. The main countries of research were the USA, SA, Switzerland and the UK, representing the main network collaborations. The relevant keywords were HIV, woman, child, program/programme, rural, tuberculosis, district and sex.CONCLUSIONS: Public health research in SA reached a high level 16 years after the end of apartheid. The chief field that emerged was the spread of HIV, including mother-to-child transmission, and the policies applied to all districts of SA, through a network of institutions between the USA and SA. <![CDATA[<b>Regulation of HIV receptor expression in cervical epithelial cells by Gram-negative bacterial lipopolysaccharide</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-95742015000100024&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) caused by the Gram-negative bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae are associated with an increased risk of HIV acquisition in South African women. HIV infection involves binding of the virus to CD4+ receptors on host cells and subsequent binding to a chemokine co-receptor that mediates fusion with the host target cell membrane. OBJECTIVE: To investigate the potential impact of STIs on HIV receptor expression in cervical epithelial cells, and the molecular pathways mediating this effect. METHODS: Expression of Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), CD4+ and CCR5 was investigated in HPV type 18-positive (HeLa) and HPV-negative (C33A) cervical epithelial cells, uterine adenocarcinoma cells (Ishikawa), cervical squamous cell carcinoma tissue and normal cervical tissue by real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis. HIV receptor expression in HeLa cells was investigated in the presence/absence of 10 μg/mL bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and chemical inhibitors of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK1/2) or cyclo-oxygenase-2 (COX-2) by RT-PCR analysis. RESULTS: TLR4, CD4+ and CCR5 expression was elevated in HeLa, C33A and Ishikawa cell lines and carcinoma tissue, compared with normal cervical tissue. Treatment of HeLa cells with LPS increased expression of the primary HIV chemokine co-receptor CCR5 (p<0.01) and several alternative HIV receptors including CCR2b (p<0.01), CXCR6 (p<0.05) and GPR1 (p<0.05), but not CD4+. We found that LPS-mediated CCR5 expression occurred via induction of the EGFR, ERK1/2 and COX-2 signalling pathways. CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that STIs have the potential to enhance susceptibility to HIV infection in women by regulating expression of HIV receptors in cervical epithelial cells. <![CDATA[<b>South African food allergy consensus document 2014</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-95742015000100025&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) caused by the Gram-negative bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae are associated with an increased risk of HIV acquisition in South African women. HIV infection involves binding of the virus to CD4+ receptors on host cells and subsequent binding to a chemokine co-receptor that mediates fusion with the host target cell membrane. OBJECTIVE: To investigate the potential impact of STIs on HIV receptor expression in cervical epithelial cells, and the molecular pathways mediating this effect. METHODS: Expression of Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), CD4+ and CCR5 was investigated in HPV type 18-positive (HeLa) and HPV-negative (C33A) cervical epithelial cells, uterine adenocarcinoma cells (Ishikawa), cervical squamous cell carcinoma tissue and normal cervical tissue by real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis. HIV receptor expression in HeLa cells was investigated in the presence/absence of 10 μg/mL bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and chemical inhibitors of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK1/2) or cyclo-oxygenase-2 (COX-2) by RT-PCR analysis. RESULTS: TLR4, CD4+ and CCR5 expression was elevated in HeLa, C33A and Ishikawa cell lines and carcinoma tissue, compared with normal cervical tissue. Treatment of HeLa cells with LPS increased expression of the primary HIV chemokine co-receptor CCR5 (p<0.01) and several alternative HIV receptors including CCR2b (p<0.01), CXCR6 (p<0.05) and GPR1 (p<0.05), but not CD4+. We found that LPS-mediated CCR5 expression occurred via induction of the EGFR, ERK1/2 and COX-2 signalling pathways. CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that STIs have the potential to enhance susceptibility to HIV infection in women by regulating expression of HIV receptors in cervical epithelial cells. <![CDATA[<b>Non-IgE-mediated food allergies</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-95742015000100026&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Non-imunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated conditions include combined IgE and cell-mediated conditions such as atopic dermatitis and eosinophilic oesophagitis, and pure T-cell-mediated conditions such as food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome, allergic proctocolitis and enteropathy syndromes. Diagnosing mixed or non-IgE-mediated allergy is challenging. A clear cause-effect relationship between exposure to the suspected food and symptoms is not always possible, as symptoms develop over time and are more chronic in nature. Skin-prick tests and specific IgE to the allergen are usually negative. An elimination diet may be necessary to diagnose non-IgE-mediated type food allergy. The suspected allergen should be excluded from the diet for 2 - 6 weeks under dietetic guidance to assess for improvement of symptoms. After symptom improvement, a rechallenge is necessary to definitively prove causal relation. <![CDATA[<b>Exclusion diets and challenges in the diagnosis of food allergy</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-95742015000100027&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Instituting an exclusion diet for 2 - 6 weeks, and following it up with a planned and intentional re-introduction of the diet, is important for the diagnosis of a food allergy when a cause-and-effect relationship between ingestion of food and symptoms is unclear. Food may be re-introduced after (short-term) exclusion diets for mild-to-moderate non-immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated conditions in a safe clinical environment or cautiously at home. However, patients who have had an IgE-mediated immediate reaction to food, a previous severe non-IgE-mediated reaction or a long period of food exclusion should not have a home challenge, but rather a formal incremental food challenge protocol in a controlled setting. An incremental oral food challenge (OFC) test is the gold standard to diagnose clinical food allergy or demonstrate tolerance. It consists of gradual feeding of the suspected food under close observation. It should be done by trained practitioners in centres that have experience in performing the procedure in an appropriate setting. An OFC must be performed in a setting where resuscitation equipment is available in the event of a severe anaphylactic reaction. OFCs are terminated when a reaction becomes apparent. Standardised and pre-set criteria are available on when to discontinue challenges. Patients who tolerate the full dose 'pass' the challenge and are advised to eat a full portion of the food at least twice a week to maintain tolerance. Those who have reactions have 'failed' the challenge, should avoid the food, receive education and implement risk-reduction strategies where appropriate. Patients should be observed for a minimum of 2 hours following a negative challenge and for 4 hours after a positive one. <![CDATA[<b>Epidemiology of IgE-mediated food allergy</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-95742015000100028&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Despite the large number of foods that may cause immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated reactions, most prevalence studies have focused on the most common allergenic foods, i.e. cow's milk, hen's egg, peanut, tree nut, wheat, soya, fish and shellfish. Food allergy peaks during the first two years of life, and then diminishes towards late childhood as tolerance to several foods develops. Based on meta-analyses and large population-based studies, the true prevalence of food allergy varies from 1% to >10%, depending on the geographical area and age of the patient. The prevalence of food allergy in South Africa (SA) is currently being studied. The prevalence of IgE-mediated food allergy in SA children with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis is 40%; however, this represents a high-risk population for food allergy. Preliminary data from the South African Food Sensitisation and Food Allergy (SAFFA) study, which is investigating food allergy in an unselected cohort of 1 - 3-year olds, show a prevalence of 11.6% sensitisation to common foods. Food allergy was most common to egg (1.4%) and peanut (1.1%). Food allergy appears to be the most common trigger of anaphylactic reactions in the community, especially in children, in whom food is responsible for >85% of such reactions. In adults, shellfish and nut, and in children, peanut, tree nut, milk and egg, are the most common triggers of food-induced anaphylaxis. <![CDATA[<b>Diagnosis of food allergy: History, examination and <i>in vivo </i>and <i>in vitro </i>tests</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-95742015000100029&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es One cannot depend on one single test to diagnose food allergy. A detailed history is an essential initial step in cases of suspected food allergy. Aspects of the history should be gathered separately for each food being considered, as a patient may experience different types of reactions with various foods, each of which requires individual diagnostic and management strategies. History alone is not diagnostic and additional measures of sensitisation or food challenges are often required. In suspected immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated allergy, skin-prick tests (SPTs) and/or measurement of serum specific IgE antibodies (ImmunoCAP) to suspected foods is used to prove sensitisation. Sensitisation does not, however, confirm clinical food allergy as these tests indicate an immunological response to the specific allergen, but the diagnosis requires a clear correlation between the test result and clinical reaction (by positive history or food chal