Celiac Disease Revealed in 3% of Swedish 12-year-olds Born During an Epidemic.

Anna Myléus, Anneli Ivarsson, Charlotta Webb, Lars Danielsson, Olle Hernell, Lotta Högberg, Eva Karlsson, Carina Lagerqvist, Fredrik Norström, Anna Rosén, Olof Sandström, Lars Stenhammar, Hans Stenlund, Stig Wall, Annelie Carlsson

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OBJECTIVE:: Sweden experienced a marked epidemic of celiac disease between 1984 and 1996 in children younger than 2 years of age, partly explained by changes in infant feeding. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of celiac disease in 12-year-olds born during the epidemic (1993), including both symptomatic and screening detected cases. PATIENTS AND METHODS:: All sixth-grade children in participating schools were invited (n = 10,041). Symptomatic and, therefore, previously diagnosed celiac disease cases were ascertained through the National Swedish Childhood Celiac Disease Register and/or medical records. All serum samples were analyzed for antihuman tissue transglutaminase (tTG)-IgA (Celikey), and serum-IgA, and some for tTG-IgG and endomysial antibodies. A small intestinal biopsy was recommended for all children with suspected undiagnosed celiac disease. RESULTS:: Participation was accepted by 7567 families (75%). Previously diagnosed celiac disease was found in 67 children; 8.9/1000 (95% confidence interval [CI] 6.7-11). In another 192 children, a small intestinal biopsy was recommended and was performed in 180. Celiac disease was verified in 145 children, 20/1000 (95% CI 17-23). The total prevalence was 29/1000 (95% CI 25-33). CONCLUSIONS:: The celiac disease prevalence of 29/1000 (3%)-with two thirds of cases undiagnosed before screening-is 3-fold higher than the usually suggested prevalence of 1%. When these 12-year-olds were infants, the prevailing feeding practice was to introduce gluten abruptly, often without ongoing breast-feeding, which might have contributed to this unexpectedly high prevalence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-176
JournalJournal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition - Jpgn
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Pediatrics


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