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Ann Ig. 2014 Nov-Dec;26(6):485-98. doi: 10.7416/ai.2014.2007.

Burden of celiac disease in Europe: a review of its childhood and adulthood prevalence and incidence as of September 2014.

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Department of Life, Health and Environmental Sciences, University of L'Aquila, L'Aquila, Italy.
ASREM, Molise, Italy.



Recent epidemiological studies have demonstrated that coeliac disease (CD) prevalence is still underestimated both in Europe and in Mediterranean regions. Here we review the latest data on CD prevalence and incidence in the European Union (EU) as of September 2014.


The current epidemiological scenario of CD prevalence and incidence was investigated by searching PubMed for papers in English using the following key words: "celiac disease", "celiac disease plus prevalence" (limits: 1990-2014), "incidence" (limits: 1970-2014), and "frequency", plus "in Europe". Another search was performed with the same key words plus the name of each European country. Only prevalence data obtained by serology using anti-gliadin antibodies (AGA), EMA test, tTG test, and/or duodenal biopsy were included. The study designs considered were retrospective and prospective studies: population-based (PB), cross-sectional, case-control and cohort studies.


Extensive research based on serological screening has demonstrated that 0.5-1% of the EU population suffers from undiagnosed CD, whereas the highest estimate reported in PB studies is approximately 1%. Considering data from different periods, incidence seems to range from 0.1 to 3.7/1000 live births in the child population and from 1.3 to 39/100,000/year in the adult population.


The present data disclose marked geographical variation in CD incidence and prevalence in different European countries. Here we document rising CD occurrence in recent decades in European countries due partly to the advent of improved serological testing (tTG + EMA) and partly to increased awareness of its clinical presentation.


Coeliac disease; Europe; Incidence; Prevalence

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