ABSTRACT The first case of a new food allergy, an anaphylactic reaction to Manioc (Manihot esculenta or Manihot utilissima), also called cassava and tapioca, was described in 2001. Cassava is a tuber widely consumed in Brazil, which has been consumed by native Indians, i.e., more than 500 years ago, so why are the first cases just emerging now? We address this question by developing a mathematical model considering the fact that proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) for digestive disorders maintain the cassava allergen intact due to the elevation in pH of gastric juice, thereby facilitating its presentation to the immune system. The model assumed the mass action law including saturation to describe the recruitment of PPIs users, and Hill function to describe the sensitization of immune system by the allergens and the acquisition of full food allergy. Analytical results were obtained from the model, and numerical simulations were done. The estimated period of time elapsed since the introduction of antiacids before the diagnosis of food allergy was 15 years. The food allergy may become a public health problem, if PPIs are being used indiscriminately and irregularly. The results obtained from the analysis of the model suggest that the use of nonprescription antiacids, like PPIs, may be recommended or approved by the physician in order to avoid the rising of food allergy.
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