NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Acute stomach infections may increase the risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, investigators report.
Their study used a medical database of United States military personnel to identify people with or without an inflammatory bowel condition “and subsequently identify the presence or absence of an antecedent episode of infectious gastroenteritis,” such as a bout of travelers’ diarrhea, Chad K. Porter told Reuters Health.
Porter, at the Naval Medical Research Center in Silver Spring, Maryland and his colleagues analyzed data on 3019 patients diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease and 11,646 matched “control” subjects.
A previous episode of infectious gastroenteritis was associated with a 40 percent greater risk of inflammatory bowel disease, the researchers report in the medical journal Gastroenterology.
“Given the previously recognized association between travelers’ diarrhea and reactive arthritis and irritable bowel syndrome ... clinicians should begin to consider travelers diarrhea as more than a self-limited disease,” the researcher said.
Porter believes that preventative antibiotics may be warranted for people at high risk for stomach infections, such as travelers and deployed military personnel.
SOURCE: Gastroenterology, September 2008.