Background & Aims: Celiac disease is one of the most common diseases worldwide, with an apparent trend of increasing prevalence. We investigated the prevalence of celiac disease in children in Italy in 2015–2016 and compared that with data from 25 years ago. Methods: We screened 4570 children (5–11 years old, 80.1% of the eligible population) from metropolitan areas of Ancona and Verona for HLA genes associated with increased risk of celiac disease, and for total serum levels of IgA and IgA class anti-tissue transglutaminase in HLA positives. Diagnoses of celiac disease were confirmed by detection of anti-endomysial antibody and analysis of intestinal biopsies. The prevalence of celiac autoimmunity and celiac disease were calculated and compared with values from the same geographical area during the years 1993–1995, after adjustment for the different diagnostic algorithm. Results: We identified 1960 children with celiac disease-associated haplotypes (43% of children screened; 95% CI, 40.8%–45.2%). The prevalence of celiac disease autoimmunity in the HLA-positive subjects was 96/1706 (5.62%; 95% CI, 4.53%–6.71%) and 54 of these children satisfied the diagnostic criteria for celiac disease. In the eligible population there were other 23 known cases of celiac disease. The overall estimated prevalence of celiac disease was 1.58% (95% CI, 1.26%–1.90%); this value is significantly higher than the 1993–1995 adjusted prevalence (0.88%; 95% CI, 0.74%–1.02%). Conclusions: We found the prevalence of celiac disease in children in Italy to be greater than 1.5%; this value has increased significantly over the past 25 years. Studies are needed to determine the causes of this large increase.
Increased Prevalence of Celiac Disease in School-age Children in Italy / Gatti, Simona; Lionetti, Elena; Balanzoni, Linda; Verma, Anil K; Galeazzi, Tiziana; Gesuita, Rosaria; Scattolo, Novella; Cinquetti, Mauro; Fasano, Alessio; Catassi, Carlo. - In: CLINICAL GASTROENTEROLOGY AND HEPATOLOGY. - ISSN 1542-3565. - STAMPA. - 18:3(2020), pp. 596-603. [10.1016/j.cgh.2019.06.013]