Celiac.com 10/17/2011 - Some research has shown celiac disease to be associated with higher rates of tuberculosis (TB), but study results have been inconclusive due to small sample sizes. A team of researchers studied a larger population to get a better look at the relationship between celiac disease and TB. The study team included J. F. Ludvigsson, D. S. Sanders, M. Maeurer, J. Jonsson, J. Grunewald, and J. Wahlström. They are affiliated with the Department of Paediatrics at Örebro University Hospital in Örebro, Sweden.

Photo: CC - Aidan_JonesThe team gathered biopsy data from all 28 pathology departments in Sweden. They then used the data to identify individuals who were diagnosed with celiac disease between 1969 and 2007. The included only individuals who showed Marsh 3 villous atrophy.  Their group included a total of 29,026 individuals. They then selected a group of sex- and age-matched control subjects were selected from the Total Population Register. They used Cox regression Cox to calculate hazard ratios (HRs) for TB from data in the Swedish national health registers.

They found that people with celiac disease faced a slightly increased TB risk (HR=2.0; 95% CI=1.3-3.0). For people with celiac disease, the absolute risk of contracting TB was 10/100,000 person-years, with an excess risk of 5/100,000. Risk estimates were the highest in the first year.

When the team restricted its focus to TB confirmed by (I) a record of TB medication (HR=2.9; 95% CI=1.0-8.3), (II) data in the National Surveillance System for Infectious Diseases in Sweden (HR=2.6; 95% CI=1.3-5.2) or (III) positive TB cultivation (HR=3.3; 95% CI=1.6-6.8) they saw increased risk levels.

The team also noted the positive association between celiac disease and TB prior to celiac disease diagnosis (odds ratio=1.6; 95% CI=1.2-2.1).

In the end, the team was able to confirm a slightly higher TB risk for people with celiac disease.

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