There is a great misconception that the incidence of celiac disease varies from one ethnic group to another, being highest in the Irish. The truth is the incidence seems to be constant between races, about 1% of the population. In my opinion celiac disease is one manifestation of gluten sensitivity and some professionals believe the incidence for gluten sensitivity is around 1 in 20.
Here is a report that shows the incidence of celiac disease in northern India is near 1%. That means that celiac disease is more common than is recognized in India, and that rates are about the same as in other parts of the world, not lower, as conventional wisdom has held.
More evidence that physicians and health care professionals and the general population need to be more suspicious that health issues may be caused by gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.
Jefferson Adams, over at celiac.com reports:
The research team set out to accurately estimate the prevalence of celiac disease in a specific Indian community. The team gathered data using a structured questionnaire administered via door-to-door visits. The questionnaire provided socio-demographic data and basic screening for features of celiac disease, such as chronic or recurrent diarrhea, and Anemia.
For children, the questionnaire included additional factors, namely short stature (linear height below 5th percentile for age) and failure to thrive/gain weight. All test subjects with positive blood screens and 10% of screen negative individuals were called for anti-tissue transglutaminase antibody blood tests.
All those with positive blood tests were invited to undergo endoscopic biopsy. The team diagnosed celiac disease on the basis of a positive blood screens, the presence of villous atrophy and/or response to gluten free diet.The team contacted 12,573 people in all. A total of 10,488 (83.4%) (50.6% male) agreed to participate. Screening showed 5,622 (53.6%) positive results. Of those who screened positive, 2167 (38.5%) submitted to anti-tissue transglutaminase antibody blood tests. The team also tested 712 (14%) subjects who had tested negative.
The data showed an overall sero-prevalence of celiac disease was 1.44% (95% conﬁdence interval [CI] 1.22 1.69) and the overall prevalence of celiac disease was 1.04% (95% CI 0.85 1.25).