Epidemiology of ulcerative colitis in Israel: A survey of Israeli kibbutz settlements

Yaron Niv, Galia Abuksis, Gerald M. Fraser

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46 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: The incidence of ulcerative colitis ranges from 3 to 15 cases per 100,000 persons per year with a prevalence of 50-80 cases per 100,000, and the disease is 3-5 times more common among Jews. In Israel, Ashkenazi Jews have a higher incidence than Sephardi Jews, but a lower incidence than Ashkenazi Jews in the United States or Northern Europe. The aim of this study was to examine the prevalence, mean annual incidence, and clinical patterns of ulcerative colitis in a stable population of communal settlements (kibbutz). METHODS: We repeated a community-based survey in 124,400 kibbutz residents, 10 yr after our first study. This population represents 2.5% of the Jewish population of Israel. All ulcerative colitis patients were located by contacting the kibbutz clinics of the 269 kibbutz settlements (100% compliance). Data were updated to December 31st, 1997, which was designated the point prevalence date, and included information on gender, age, origin, education, profession, extent of the inflammatory process, clinical spectrum of the disease, therapy, complications of the disease, and treatment. The mean annual incidence for the 10 yr was calculated from the prevalence data. Only cases with a definite diagnosis of ulcerative colitis made in a recognized gastroenterology unit were accepted into the study. RESULTS: There were 208 confirmed cases of ulcerative colitis disease, 113 women and 95 men (female:male ratio = 1.19). The prevalence rate rose from 121.0/100,000 in 1987 to 167.2/100,000 in 1997 (p < 0.001). The prevalence rates were higher in women than men. Prevalence was highest in Israeli-born members in 1987 but in European/American-born members in 1997. The average annual incidence rate for the 10-yr period was 5.04/100,000/yr. In 1987, 146 cases of ulcerative colitis were collected. During 10 yr of surveillance 17 patients left the kibbutz, 12 died, and 62 new cases were added. The mean age at presentation of the disease was lower in 1987 than in 1997, 46.14 ± 11.10 and 51.43 ± 16.67 yr, respectively. Prevalence was highest in men with >16 yr and in women with 9-10 yr of education, 259.3 and 242.9/100,000, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of ulcerative colitis in this Israeli population increased and has reached the upper range for European and American populations. The mean annual incidence rate of ulcerative colitis is in the lower range of that reported for the Western countries. (C) 2000 by Am. Coll. of Gastroenterology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)693-698
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2000
Externally publishedYes


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