Symptoms of coeliac disease include diarrhoea, and in countries such as those in Asia and Africa where other diarrhoeal diseases are common due to lack of clean water, among other things, coeliac disease and gluten intolerance might not be diagnosed.
Researchers from Umeå University in Sweden and the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa estimate that the mortality rate for children could be as high as 42,000 per year from coeliac disease. The researchers model is crude, given the lack of available data on the subject, but includes estimates of childhood coeliac disease in populations, probability of non-diagnosis, and likelihood of mortality.
Since, by avoiding gluten, death from coeliac disease is easily avoidable, the researcher advocate awareness-raising of coeliac disease in these parts of the world. Added to this, food supplements that contain gluten must bear a warning about the harm they can cause to children who suffer from coeliac disease.
Source: PLoS ONE
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