OBJECTIVES: to evaluate serum for celiac disease in a group of adolescents and young adults in the city of Recife, in the Northeast region of Brazil. METHODS: the sample was made up of students enrolled on undergraduate courses at the Center for Health Sciences of the Federal University of Pernambuco. A blood sample was taken from the students to test their serum for the human tissue antitransglutaminase antibody and they were asked to complete a questionnaire on the symptoms and morbid conditions associated with celiac disease. THE antitransglutaminase was identified using the Elisa technique, taking positive values to be those above 10 U/mL, as recommended by the manufacturer. Patients who tested positive for the antitransglutaminase antibody were subsequently tested for the antiendomysial antibody, by indirect immunofluorescence, using the commercially available kit. RESULTS: six hundred and eight-three university students took part in the study. They were aged between 18 and 30 years, with a mean age of 21 years. The antitransglutaminase antibody was found in 12/683, a prevalence of 1.76% (CI95%: 0.95-3.13%). The antiendomysial antibody test was carried out in eleven these samples and the reagent in four. Eight students tested positive and/or had morbid conditions associated with celiac disease. CONCLUSIONS: the high levels of anti-transglutaminase antibodies found in this study were similar to those found in Europe and the United States suggesting that serological triage can be carried out even in populations considered to be low risk.
Celiac disease; Epidemiology; Seroepidemiologic studies; Diagnosis; Adolescent; Young adult