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    Celiac Kids Show Weak Response to Hepatitis B Vaccine, Researchers Puzzled


    Jefferson Adams

    Celiac.com 07/01/2015 - Children with celiac disease show an impaired immune response to the hepatitis B vaccine, and neither a gluten-free diet, nor additional vaccine boosters seem to change that, according to research presented at the 33rd Annual Meeting of the European Society for Paediatric Infectious Diseases.


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    Photo: CC-- Victor Santa MariaAlthough a number of studies have documented this reduced response, most have been limited by low numbers of patients with celiac disease, and/or lower numbers of control patients, said Maria José Pérez, MD, from Henares Hospital in Coslada, Spain.

    Two of those prior studies that implicated gluten in the impaired vaccine response, showed that celiac patients who follow a gluten-free diet have a hepatitis B vaccine response that is similar to that in the general population after celiac patients switch to a gluten-free diet.

    In their study, Dr. Pérez and her colleagues looked at the immune response to the vaccine in children with celiac disease. The team evaluated 214 children with celiac disease and 346 control patients who had completed the hepatitis B vaccine regimen in the first year of life. All patients were vaccinated before gluten was introduced into their diets. They measured gluten antibody levels for each child to determine vaccine response. Kids who showed levels of hepatitis B surface antibody under 10 mUI/mL were defined as non-responsive to the vaccine.

    Overall, non-response was 8% higher in children with celiac disease than in control subjects (68.7% vs 60.7%). For children younger than 5 years, this difference was a whopping 20%, with a rate of 50.0% for celiac children, compared with 30.1% for the control group (P = .015).

    In children with celiac disease, the researchers found no relation between level of antibody and time since the last intake of gluten. So, one important takeaway is that gluten consumption or avoidance does not change the immune response to hepatitis B vaccine in patients with celiac disease. Over time, levels of antibody decreased in both groups, so doctors assessing immune response to hepatitis B vaccine should factor in the amount of time elapsed since vaccination, says Dr. Pérez.

    The prospective study involved 72 children with celiac disease who were vaccinated in the first year of life and whose antibody levels were below 10 mUI/mL. The researchers found no change in levels after the children received a single vaccine booster.

    In light of these results, the research team advises that children with celiac disease and undetectable levels of antibody be revaccinated with a full series of the vaccine.

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    Guest Vera

    Posted

    Seriously? The vaccine doesn't work, so just keep trying it on them?? That's irresponsible, given the Hep B vaccine's association with various autoimmune diseases in adults, and celiacs' association with other autoimmune diseases. Leave them alone unless they become injecting drug users or other risk groups!

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    Guest Erica

    Posted

    That's ridiculous!

    We should keep exposing them to additive toxins in hopes that it might work?? This is an article on what vaccines to avoid for kids with celiac.

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    Guest Jefferson

    Posted

    I'm unaware of any link between vaccines and drug usage.

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    Guest Okienurse

    Posted

    I am 62 years old and worked as an RN for 40+ years. In the mid 1980's they started vaccinating all nursing staff with the Hepatitis B vaccine but I seemed be having problems with the vaccine working on me and was revaccinated multiple times and didn't work. I had been having GI troubles for years (since 1975) and 2 years ago my GI doctor said he was convinced I had celiac (in addition to IBS) but blood work and scope with biopsy didn't validate that. I went gluten free and it was amazing that all my GI symptoms and problems disappeared. My lab work went back to normal but I have been blessed with quite a few autoimmune issues now...Roscea, Sjogrens, Psoriasis, thyroiditis and hypothyroid disease, the atypical celiac, and Reynaud's Syndrome. I am also diagnosed with chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia and my doctor said that might be an atypical form of MS that doesn't show lesions readily on MRI. It is all one and the same and I am relapsing and remitting with no advancement of symptoms. I don't know what the cause of all this is but I hesitate to blame it on vaccinations. I also was bitten by a tick about the same time and came up with Lyme's disease. I am clueless as to what the causes of all my issues are but I thank Celiac.com for making my life easier to bear!

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. He has covered Health News for Examiner.com, and provided health and medical content for Sharecare.com. His work has appeared in Antioch Review, Blue Mesa Review, CALIBAN, Hayden's Ferry Review, Huffington Post, the Mississippi Review, and Slate, among others.

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