Childhood Celiac Disease in Estonia: Efficacy of the IgA-Class Antigliadin Antibody Test in the Search for New Cases

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The incidence of celiac disease (CD) and the role of IgA-class antigliadin antibody (AGA) determination in revealing new CD cases were studied in Estonia. Altogether 36 cases of CD in Estonian children were diagnosed from January 1976 through June 1992 by criteria recommended by the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. A significant increase was observed in the incidence of CD in Estonia (from 1:25,130 live births during 1976–1989 to about 1:2,700 live births during 1990–1992), due mainly to the introduction of IgA-class AGA determinations in an active search for celiac patients since 1990. A total of 29 IgA-class AGA-positive cases was revealed among 1,048 children screened, and 23 of them had CD. Thus, the results show a relatively low incidence of CD in Estonia compared to the figures in neighboring countries. However, the incidence will probably increase if a larger pediatric population can be screened for CD using IgA-class AGA enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.

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