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One Percent of Italian Schoolchildren have Celiac Disease

Arch Dis Child 2004;89:499-501,512-515.

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Celiac.com 09/12/2004 – According to a recent study by Italian researchers, about 1% of Italian schoolchildren have celiac disease. The scientists screened blood samples taken from 3,188 schoolchildren aged 6 to 12 years for the presence of tissue Transglutaminase (tTG). The results showed that 33 tested positive for tTG, and of those 30 were verified by follow-up biopsies, and 3 refused biopsies but also tested positive for celiac disease-related antibodies and celiac disease-associated HLA DQ2-8. Out of the 33 who tested positive only 12 had symptoms.

The researchers believe that the subsequent treatment of these children will likely help them to avoid future autoimmune disorders associated with untreated celiac disease. They also believe that because tTG screening is less expensive and more accurate than other forms of celiac disease screening, it should be used in the future for all mass-screening programs. They conclude that future mass screening programs deserve careful consideration.

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