Pathogen-Specific Risk of Celiac Disease Following Bacterial Causes of Foodborne Illness: A Retrospective Cohort Study
The US CDC recently estimated over 2 million foodborne illnesses annually are caused by 4 major enteropathogens: non-typhoid Salmonella spp., Campylobacter spp., Shigella spp., and Yersinia enterocolitica. While recent data suggest functional gastrointestinal disorders are associated with these infections, studies linking foodborne illness to celiac disease (CD) are limited. We utilized a US Department of Defense medical encounter database to evaluate the risk of CD following select foodborne infections.
We identified subjects with acute gastroenteritis between 1998 and 2009 attributed to Salmonella (nontyphoidal) spp., Shigella spp., Campylobacter spp., or Y. enterocolitica and matched each with up to 4 unexposed subjects. Exposed and unexposed subjects were followed for incident CD diagnosis for their entire military record duration (or a minimum of 1 year). Relative risks were calculated using modified Poisson regression to determine the relationship between pathogen-attributable gastroenteritis and CD while controlling for covariates.
A total of 1,753 pathogen-specific gastroenteritis cases (Campylobacter: 738; Salmonella: 624; Shigella: 376; Yersinia: 17) were identified and followed for a median of 3.8 years. The incidence (per 100,000 person-years) of CD was 0.05. We found a suggested risk of CD after Campylobacter, but not other foodborne infection etiologies.
These data support a previous study demonstrating increased risk of CD following Campylobacteriosis and highlight the need for additional research into how infections might trigger CD in susceptible individuals.
KeywordsEpidemiology Cohort study Campylobacteriosis Celiac disease Foodborne illness
The authors thank the staff at the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center (Maryland) for their role in providing the data from the DoD Defense Medical Surveillance System.
Conflict of interest
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Navy, Department of Defense, nor the US Government. This is a US Government work. There are no restrictions on its use. There were no financial conflicts of interests among any of the authors. Two of the authors are employees of the US Government and military service members. This work was prepared as part of official duties. Title 17 U.S.C. §105 provides that “Copyright protection under this title is not available for any work of the United States Government.” Title 17 U.S.C. §101 defines a US Government work as a work prepared by a military service member or employee of the US Government as part of that person’s official duties.
Human subjects review
The study protocol was approved by the Naval Medical Research Center Institutional Review Board in compliance with all applicable Federal regulations governing the protection of human subjects.