Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BACKGROUND: Untreated celiac disease is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Until now, no up-to-date figures have been available on the prevalence of celiac disease among children and adolescents in Germany, or on the percentage of undiagnosed cases. METHODS: To estimate the prevalence of celiac disease, serum samples obtained from 2003 to 2006 from participants in the German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents (KiGGS) were studied for celiac disease-specific autoantibodies and total IgA. RESULTS: Of the 12 741 study participants aged 1 to 17 years (6546 boys, 6195 girls), 9 (0.07%) had a reported history of celiac disease. An elevated concentration of serum autoantibodies to tissue transglutaminase was found in 91 children with a normal IgA concentration and in 7 with IgA deficiency. The prevalence of undiagnosed celiac disease, based on positive autoantibody findings, was 0.8% (95% confidence interval 0.6-1.0%), and the overall prevalence of the disease was 0.9%. Seropositive children and adolescents had lower ferritin and red blood cell folate concentrations than seronegative ones; they also tended to be shorter and to weigh less as reflected by age- and sex-standardized z-scores. CONCLUSION: The 0.9% prevalence of celiac disease in Germany, as determined from a combination of serological findings and clinical histories, is similar to reported prevalences elsewhere in Europe and North America. Pediatricians, primary care physicians, internists, and other specialists should be aware of the broad spectrum of clinical manifestations of this disease. Children who have symptoms suggestive of celiac disease or belong to a group at risk for it should be tested for antibodies against tissue transglutaminase, as should symptomatic adults after the exclusion of other possible causes. It is not yet clear whether asymptomatic adults from high-risk groups should be tested.

Original publication

DOI

10.3238/arztebl.2015.0553

Type

Journal article

Journal

Dtsch Arztebl Int

Publication Date

17/08/2015

Volume

112

Pages

553 - 560

Keywords

Adolescent, Adolescent Health, Age Distribution, Biomarkers, Celiac Disease, Child, Child Health, Child, Preschool, Female, GTP-Binding Proteins, Germany, Humans, Infant, Infant, Newborn, Male, Prevalence, Risk Factors, Sex Distribution, Transglutaminases