Coeliac disease which stops victims eating bread, pasta and other foods containing gluten may be caused by a tummy bug in childhood, study claims
- Roughly one in every 100 Britons has the extremely rare condition, doctors say
- Experts now believe it is triggered by enterovirus, which strikes in childhood
- They say this discovery could pave the way for a vaccine to protect against it
A condition which leaves victims unable to eat bread, pasta and other foods containing gluten could be triggered by a tummy bug in childhood, research suggests.
Mystery has always surrounded the cause of coeliac disease – a common digestive problem.
But experts now believe it is triggered by enterovirus, which strikes in childhood. They say this discovery could pave the way for a vaccine which could protect against coeliac disease.
Experts from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health tracked 220 children from the age of three months until they were ten
Roughly one in every 100 Britons has the condition, the only treatment for which is a life without gluten.
This protein, usually derived from wheat, is found in pasta, most types of bread, breakfast cereals, biscuits and cakes, and can cause stomach upsets, fatigue and more serious problems for coeliacs.
Experts from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health tracked 220 children from the age of three months until they were ten years old.
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Each had genes which make them vulnerable to coeliac disease – carried by 40 per cent of the population.
During the decade of monitoring, 25 were diagnosed with coeliac disease and researchers found they were 49 per cent more likely to have had enterovirus.
Writing in the British Medical Journal, they admitted far more work is needed to prove their findings.
But they added: ‘If enterovirus is confirmed as a trigger factor, vaccination could reduce the risk of development of coeliac disease.’
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