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Phadia’s F232 test is used to detect blood levels of the IgE (antibodies) for ovalbumin, the most abundant component in egg whites. The test is often ordered in combination with the F1 test, which combines several other egg white components. The interpretation chart accompanying the result expresses the probability of an allergic reaction to egg whites, but not necessarily the severity of the reaction. Case history (age, symptoms, relation to meals, etc.) and clinical examination by the physician are essential for a reliable interpretation of the results.

An anti-ovalbumin IgE result below 0.35 kilounits per litre (< 0.35 kU/L) indicates that egg whites are probably not responsible for the symptoms observed, but it DOES NOT COMPLETELY RULE OUT THIS POSSIBILITY. Ovalbumin is a protein that is sensitive to cooking. Someone who is allergic only to ovalbumin but not to other components of egg whites, such as ovomucoid, may have an allergy to raw or slightly cooked eggs and certain vaccines, but not to thoroughly cooked eggs. The double-blind oral food challenge remains the definitive technique for confirming the presence or absence of a food allergy.

Term of the Week

Predictive medicine

Medicine that links medical knowledge with data to predict a patient’s potential health problems. Examples include artificial intelligence and genetics.