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Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC) are chronic inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) of unknown aetiology and most epidemiologists accept that there has been real increase in incidence of IBD in the developed countries during the last century.1,2
Few studies have looked at the incidence and prevalence of childhood IBD across Europe.3,4 A Scottish study looking at the incidence of IBD (between 1968 and 1983) revealed a more than threefold increase in CD and a marginal fall in UC,5 with a recent report from the same country suggesting a continued rise in the incidence of both juvenile onset CD and UC.6 A study of IBD in the UK carried out in 1999–2000 by the British Paediatric Surveillance Unit (BPSU) suggested an estimated incidence of 5.3 per 100 000 children under the age of 16, equivalent to approximately 700 new cases per annum in the UK and Republic of Ireland, with CD being at least twice as common as UC.7
In a retrospective study from South Wales, UK, the reported incidence of childhood CD increased from 1.3 to 3.11 …
Competing interests: none declared