Celiac disease in Tunisia: serological screening in healthy blood donors.
ABSTRACT Recent epidemiological studies in Europe and in USA using antigliadin antibodies and antiendomysium antibodies for initial screening have shown that the overall prevalence of celiac disease (CD) is about 1:200 (0.5%).
To screen for CD in healthy blood donors in Tunisia.
Sera from 2500 healthy blood donors (median age: 21 years, 70% men and 30% women) were screened for IgG-antigliadin antibodies and IgA-antigliadin antibodies with an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. All sera with positive antigliadin antibodies were tested for antiendomysium antibodies using human umbilical cord cryosections as substrate.
Seven healthy blood donors (median age: 21 years; four men, three women) have antiendomysium antibodies. The prevalence of antiendomysium antibodies in healthy blood donors in Tunisia is 1:355 (0.28%).
On the basis of a high specificity of the antiendomysium antibodies, it is likely that the seven blood donors identified in this study have CD. These data suggest that CD is frequent in Tunisia.