The prevalence of inflammatory bowel disease in an Israeli Arab population

Ibrahim Zvidi, Gerald M. Fraser, Yaron Niv, Shlomo Birkenfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Aims: To determine the prevalence of inflammatory bowel disease among the 1.5. million Arab residents in Israel who represent 20% of the total population. Methods: Family physicians in all Arab towns and villages were contacted to obtain information on patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Relevant clinical data were retrieved and updated to December 31, 2009. Results: Information was obtained from 23/71 municipalities approached (representing 200,000 out of 1.5. million Arabs). There were 64 confirmed cases of Crohn's disease indicating a prevalence rate of 32/100,000. The rate of smoking within this cohort was lower than in the general population (1.5% vs. 40%; P < 0.001). There were 44 confirmed cases of ulcerative colitis with a prevalence rate of 22/100,000. The percentage of active smokers in this cohort was 18%. Clinical remission or mild activity was observed in 75% of patients in both cohorts at the time of the survey. Fourteen patients (21%) had undergone surgery for Crohn's disease, whereas none had undergone surgery for ulcerative colitis. Twenty-eight (42%) patients with Crohn's disease and 20 (45%) with ulcerative colitis were on maintenance therapy with 5-aminosalicylic acid. Only 18% with Crohn's disease and 6.8% with ulcerative colitis had received anti-tumor necrosis factor. The most prevalent extra-intestinal manifestations were perianal disease (18%) in Crohn's disease, and arthralgia or arthritis (6.8%) in ulcerative colitis. Conclusions: We found a low prevalence rate of inflammatory bowel disease in the Israeli Arab population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e159-e163
JournalJournal of Crohn's and Colitis
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Crohn's disease
  • Epidemiology
  • Family aggregation
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Prevalence
  • Ulcerative colitis


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