Who is susceptible to this disease?
Crohn’s disease occurs at the rate of two new cases per every 100,000, while the total number is estimated to be 20 to 40 per 100,000. In Western cultures the rate of Crohn’s disease is increasing, possible culprits: Antibiotic use and diet.
Females get it slightly more than males, Caucasians are developing this disease two to four times more often than people of African or Asian descent, while incidence amongst Jewish people is three to 6 times higher than non-jewish people.
Quick summary of factors:
1. Genetic predisposition
2. Infectious agent or agents
3. Antibiotic exposure
4. Dietary factors
While there has as of yet no genetic marker been found for IBD disease. IBD occurs two to four times more in Caucasians, is four times more common in the Jewish population and in 15% (fifteen percent) to 40% (forty percent) of all cases multiple members of a family are affected by Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
There are many microorganisms which qualify for as potential culprits for IBD, but this possibility is still being debated. To mention some viruses suspected of causing this disease: rotavirus, Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus, and mycobacterium. Possible other organisms are thought to be; pseudomonas-like organisms such as chlamydia and Yersinia enterocolitica.
Antibiotic Exposure (1)
Prior to the 1950s, Crohn’s disease was only found in isolated groups. Evidence for a strong genetic compound. Penicillin and tetracycline have been available in oral form since 1953. The annual increase of Crohn’s disease directly correlates to the annual increase of antibiotic prescription. Statistics have shown whenever antibiotics are used very early and in great quantities, the occurrence of Crohn’s disease becomes very high. Coupled with the fact that since the 50s Crohn’s disease has spread like an epidemic, especially in countries like the United States and in countries previously having virtually no cases of Crohn’s, could one blame antibiotics?
Tomorrow I’ll continue with additional causes thought to lead to IBD. Immune System Abnormality, Dietary Factors and other Miscellaneous Factors.
In the meantime.
(1) Demling L., Is Crohn’s Disease Caused by Antibiotics? Hepato-Gastroenterol 41 (1994). Pg: 549-51