Acute infectious gastroenteritis increases the risk for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and functional dyspepsia.
Children are particularly vulnerable to gastroenteritis because of the immaturity of their intestinal barrier, enteric nervous system, and immune response to pathogens.
Dr Giovanni Barbara and colleagues investigated whether acute gastroenteritis in early life increases the risk of IBS and functional dyspepsia throughout adulthood.
In 1994, the researchers identified and monitored a single culture-proven foodborne Salmonella enteritidis outbreak that involved 1811 patients in Bologna, Italy.
Clinical data were collected and a prospective, controlled, cohort study was designed.
|32% of exposed participants reported functional dyspepsia|
The research team assessed long-term effects by mailing a questionnaire to 757 subjects 16 years after the outbreak.
The team randomly selected a cohort of 250 adults exposed to Salmonella as children, all 127 individuals exposed as adults, and a cohort of nonexposed participants matched for number, age, sex, and area of residence.
Among 198 exposed participants, the team noted that 32% reported functional dyspepsia, compared with 27% of controls.
Among 204 exposed participants, 37% reported having IBS compared with 23% of controls.
The team found that the odds ratio for IBS among people exposed to the Salmonella was 1.92.
The researchers observed that the prevalence of IBS was higher in individuals exposed Salmonella as children than in controls, but not in individuals exposed as adults, compared with controls.
After multivariate logistic regression, post-infectious IBS was independently associated with anxiety and functional dyspepsia.
Dr Barbara's team concludes, "Based on data collected from a single culture-proven foodborne Salmonella enteritidis outbreak in 1994, Salmonella-induced gastroenteritis during childhood (but not adulthood) is a risk factor for IBS."