Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Egg and cows' milk hypersensitivity in exclusively breast fed infants with eczema, and detection of egg protein in breast milk.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1985; 291 doi: (Published 05 October 1985) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1985;291:932
  1. A Cant,
  2. R A Marsden,
  3. P J Kilshaw


    Forty nine eczematous infants who were still solely and exclusively breast fed and who had never received anything but breast milk were studied for evidence of sensitisation to foods. Thirty four similar infants without eczema formed a control group. The eczematous infants were divided into three groups according to clinical criteria: (1) definite atopic eczema; (2) possible atopic eczema; (3) atopic eczema unlikely. Twenty three infants showed cutaneous hypersensitivity to foods, usually egg and cows' milk. Seven of 14 infants in group 1 and nine of 20 in group 2 were sensitised compared with four of 15 in group 3 and three of 34 controls (p less than 0.01). Ovalbumin was detected in breast milk from 14 of 19 mothers tested after ingestion of egg, the concentrations being the same for mothers feeding eczematous and normal infants. Breast fed babies developing eczema may be sensitised by foods eaten by their mothers.