Testing for celiac disease antibodies in preschool children

Croatian partners (Association for celiac disease patients Primorje Gorski Kotar County from Rijeka and University Hospital Rijeka, Primorje Gorski Kotar County)

The aim of this study is to investigate the existence of anti-tTG IgA antibodies associated with celiac disease in seven years old children using non-invasive rapid celiac disease tests in Primorje Gorski Kotar County.

Testing of 1500 "Pre-school children on celiac disease" will be implemented in October 2018 within the framework of the Focus IN CD project and supported by the European Regional Development Fund - Interreg Central Europe Programmee.

Celiac disease is a chronic systemic autoimmune disease that affects between 1 and 3% of the population of all ages. It has been established that in a developed world, the diagnosis of celiac disease is delayed by more than ten years and that 80% of the patients remain undiagnosed or have a wrong diagnosis. The clinical picture of this disease has changed in recent years, so there are frequent mild and asymptomatic forms of disease even when we are talking about children. The undiagnosed and/or untreated disease is associated with a large number of severe complications and comorbidities, which does not only reflect the individual and his family, but also the general population and the overall health system.

The aim of this study is to investigate the existence of anti-tTG IgA antibodies associated with celiac disease in seven years old children using non-invasive rapid celiac disease tests in Primorje Gorski Kotar County. After testing, if the rapid anti-TTG test is positive, the child will be referred to a paediatric gastroenterologist, who will do further diagnostics with the purpose of confirming or refusing the diagnosis of celiac disease.

The ultimate goal of this study is early detection of celiac disease and prevention of serious complications of the disease.

Testing will be provided by Association for CD patients Primorje Gorski Kotar County from Rijeka and University Hospital Rijeka which already have done all needed preparations: purchased rapid tests for celiac disease, organized meetings with stakeholders (Public Health Institutions, primary school principals...), informed the President of Republic of Croatia Mrs. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović about this screening as possible national preventive healthcare program in the future.

Croatian public was informed about our Pilot project activity through radio and newspaper but more information and dissemination will be done in cooperation with third Croatian partner-Primorje Gorski Kotar County in order to provide wide and complete support for understanding celiac disease as a serious illness.

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