Arch Dis Child doi:10.1136/archdischild-2011-300651
  • Original articles

Rapid rise in incidence of Irish paediatric inflammatory bowel disease

  1. B Bourke1,2,3,4
  1. 1National Centre for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin, Dublin, Ireland
  2. 2UCD School of Medicine and Medical Science, Belfield, Dublin, Ireland
  3. 3Conway Institute, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin, Ireland
  4. 4National Children's Research Centre, Crumlin, Dublin, Ireland
  5. 5CSTAR, Woodview House, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin, Ireland
  6. 6National Children's Hospital, Tallaght, Dublin, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to Billy Bourke, National Centre for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin, Dublin 12, Ireland; billy.bourke{at}
  1. Contributors The study was designed by Drs Bourke, Hope and Hussey. Data collection was by Drs Hope, Shahdadpuri and Dunne, Ms Hamzawi and Ms O'Driscoll. Mr Tim Grant assisted with statistical analysis. The manuscript was first drafted by Dr Hope. All authors contributed to revisions of the original draft and have approved the submitted version. Dr Bourke is the guarantor of the study.

  • Accepted 26 March 2012
  • Published Online First 1 May 2012


Aims To describe the change in incidence of paediatric inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) observed at the National Centre for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, and to determine whether the presenting disease phenotype and disease outcomes have changed during the past decade.

Methods The annual incidence of IBD in Irish children aged <16 years was calculated for the years 2000–2010. Two subsets of patients, group A (diagnosed between 1 January 2000 and 31 December 2001), and group B (diagnosed between 1 January and 31 December 2008) were phenotyped according to the Paris Classification. Phenotype at diagnosis and 2-year follow-up were then compared.

Results 406 new cases of IBD were identified. The incidence was 2.5/100 000/year in 2001, 7.3 in 2008 and 5.6 in 2010, representing a significant increase in the number of new cases of Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). There were 238 cases of CD; 129 of UC; and 39 of IBD unclassified. Comparing groups A and B, no differences were found in disease location at diagnosis or, for CD, in its behaviour.

Conclusions There has been a substantial and sustained increase in the incidence of childhood UC and CD in Ireland over a relatively short period of time. However, disease phenotype at diagnosis has not changed. At 2 years follow-up, CD appears to progress less frequently than in some neighbouring countries. These variations remain unexplained. Prospective longitudinal studies will help to elucidate further the epidemiology of childhood IBD.


  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval Our Lady's Children's Hospital Ethics (Medical Research) Committee (reference number GEN/195/11).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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