Infections in Early Life and Development of Celiac Disease

Am J Epidemiol. 2017 Dec 1;186(11):1277-1280. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwx190.


It has been suggested that early infections are associated with increased risk for later celiac disease (CD). We analyzed prospective claims data of infants from Bavaria, Germany, born between 2005 and 2007 (n = 295,420), containing information on medically attended infectious diseases according to International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, codes in quarterly intervals. We calculated hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals for time to CD diagnosis by infection exposure, adjusting for sex, calendar month of birth, and number of previous healthcare visits. CD risk was higher among children who had had a gastrointestinal infection during the first year of life (hazard ratio = 1.32, 95% confidence interval: 1.12, 1.55) and, to a lesser extent, among children who had had a respiratory infection during the first year of life (hazard ratio = 1.22, 95% confidence interval: 1.04, 1.43). Repeated gastrointestinal infections during the first year of life were associated with particularly increased risk of CD in later life. These findings indicate that early gastrointestinal infections may be relevant for CD development.

Keywords: celiac disease; gastrointestinal infections; respiratory infections.

MeSH terms

  • Celiac Disease / etiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Communicable Diseases / complications*
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / complications*
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / complications*