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Ital J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 1999 Aug-Sep;31(6):503-7.

Epidemiology of inflammatory bowel disease in Italy.

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Department of Internal Medicine, V. Cervello Hospital, Palermo, Italy.


The incidence of inflammatory bowel diseases is similar throughout Italy. Two prospective multicentre studies in the same period have shown an incidence very similar to Northern Europe. The incidence of ulcerative colitis ranged from 3.4 to 10.5. The incidence of Crohn's disease ranged from 1.9 to 6.6. The time trends seem to indicate an increase in both diseases. The need to set up General Registries of disease is underlined. The clinical behaviour and the diagnostic approach are homogeneous throughout the country. Compared to Northern Europe, surgery was less common in ulcerative colitis. Among the risk factors, familial occurrence has been shown to have the same prevalence as in Northern Europe suggesting a common genetic background. Studies on other risk factors are warranted considering the lack of data. Data on mortality show that there is a decrease in deaths in ulcerative colitis and a slight increase in mortality for Crohn's disease in the first few years after diagnosis. A retrospective study on costs has shown a greater economic burden from ulcerative colitis, however, new multicentre prospective studies are necessary.

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