HealthDay News — Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have a threefold higher risk for systemic serious viral infections (SVIs) compared with the general population, according to a study published online in the United European Gastroenterology Journal.

Andrew Wisniewski, from Universite de Sherbrooke in Montreal, and colleagues assessed the incidence and risk factors for systemic SVIs among 2645 patients with IBD.

The researchers found that 31 patients with SVIs were identified during 15,383 person-years, including 13 cases of cytomegalovirus (CMV), 10 Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), 5 varicella zoster virus, and 3 herpes simplex virus infections. The incidence rate of infections in patients with IBD was 2.02 per 1000 person-years, and the standardized incidence ratio was 3.09. Increased risk for infection was associated with exposure to thiopurines (odds ratio, 3.48) and clinically active IBD at the onset of infection (odds ratio, 3.35).

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“Young IBD patients are the most vulnerable to the development of SVIs, as they are less likely to have been exposed to viruses such as EBV or CMV before,” a coauthor said in a statement.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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