Crohn's Disease Forum » General IBD Discussion » Crohn's Disease is not contagious. Until it is?

07-08-2017, 08:03 AM   #1
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Crohn's Disease is not contagious. Until it is?

Several peer-reviewed PubMed articles postulate that Crohn's Disease is a contagious disease or that there is an infectious element (sources below).

When I first started reading about the disease, many reputable sites like WebMD suggest that is not the case. And yet, in the next statement, they admit, "no one knows what causes Crohn's disease."

This leads me to why I'm here. Last month, an X-ray revealed I had "prominent" small bowel loops suggestive of a "focal ileus." This led to an IBD blood panel test (ASCA), in which both my IgG and IgA values were positive (37 and 50, respectively).

I work at a firm with less than 15 people. One employee in our office has had Crohn's disease for most of his life. I've worked there over a decade. We all share the same dishes/microwave/coffee maker in the break room.

As relatively rare as Crohn's is, what are the odds that two people in a company our size would have Crohn's? Granted, I haven't been formerly diagnosed yet, but the ASCA test has a 90% accuracy rate, so it isn't looking good.

Just something to think about. Maybe there are people on this forum who also have anecdotal evidence of family members, co-workers or spouses living/working in close contact with one another who went on to contract the disease.

Peer-reviewed sources suggesting a contagion:
07-08-2017, 11:53 AM   #2
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Crohn's disease is not contagious. Sometimes it can be in other family members but not contagious.
07-08-2017, 11:54 AM   #3
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Be careful of the internet, very few websites are a reliable source. WebMD is one of the few reputable ones and it correlates with the books I read that are authored by health professionals specializing in IBD.

No one knows what causes CD, but it is also known that it is not contagious or hereditary. There is no record of CD in my family history.

I have worked in an office surrounded by people for years. No one has contracted my Crohns. None of my family or friends have caught it either.

No need to panic.
07-08-2017, 02:29 PM   #4
Join Date: Jun 2017
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I believe there's a lot of misinformation. That much we can agree on.

But there's nothing questionable about the PubMed website. This site, which is hosted by the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, is comprised of peer-reviewed studies, from which many other medical sites and doctors draw conclusions.

No panic here, but if Crohn's is confirmed via the biopsy, then it definitely raises an eyebrow when I work in a small company with less than 15 employees who share dishes in the break room and PubMed already has evidence of an infectious element.

Last edited by mtseeg; 07-08-2017 at 04:56 PM.
07-08-2017, 03:16 PM   #5
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If Crohn's disease was contagious, there would be a lot more people suffering from it.
How exactly are they saying it is spread? I've lived with my husband since I was diagnosed 7 years ago, and he has shown no signs of digestive issues in that amount of time, and I would assume we are sharing much more and spending much more time together than you and your coworker.
I certainly hope you don't plant to address this with your coworker. I'd be pretty mad if someone tried to accuse me of spreading crohns to them.
07-08-2017, 03:31 PM   #6
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Ohio
It's been suggested in these studies that there is a common factor to which the family/spouses were all exposed.

I agree that if that were the case, one would expect to see much higher rates of Crohn's. But consider stomach ulcers caused by H. Pylori. About 50% of the adult population are exposed to the bacteria, yet not everyone gets stomach ulcers. One could then surmise that only those with susceptible/compromised guts get Crohn's.

It's known that the kitchen sink (and specifically, the sponge) is one of the dirtiest areas of the house, filled with nasty bacteria and even traces of fecal matter and E. coli. MAP, as one example, is among the bacteria implicated in Crohn's.

If science has proven a benefit from having a fecal transplant from a healthy donor, one can surmise the opposite could have a negative effect.

I don't plan on confronting this coworker; it's something I can neither prove nor they can control. I only offer it as another possibility, given the relative rarity of the disease and the unusual circumstance that two out of less than 15 coworkers have the disease.

Last edited by mtseeg; 07-08-2017 at 05:15 PM.
07-08-2017, 05:40 PM   #7
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I do believe that there is an environmental component to it. Something in the environment triggers the disease in people who were already genetically susceptible to it. I just don't know if I think it's something that can be transmitted from person to person. I'll look into it and see what type of information I can find to support the theory.

One of my best friends and I both have Crohn's disease. Neither one of us have a family history, and we were both diagnosed within a few years of eachother. We basically grew up together, lived only s few blocks away from eachother and spent all of our free time together. We were both diagnosed in our 20's though, and had not been living in the same state for at least 5 years when the first was diagnosed. I don't think she gave me Crohn's disease, but I have thought that maybe we were exposed to something when we were younger that later triggered the disease in both of us.

I hate that we have no idea why this happens. If we can't cure it in the people already suffering, I'd like to at least attempt to prevent it in my children.
07-20-2017, 12:59 PM   #8
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: United Kingdom
No one knows what causes CD, but it is also known that it is not contagious or hereditary.
I'm not sure I buy into the thought that Crohn's can be picked up by another person simply by sharing plates and utensils, but the links to those studies are interesting.

Crohn's can indeed be hereditary. I took a genetic test and got a report back that indicates the heritability to be around 50-60%. According to Mayo Clinic, having a close relative with IBD increases the risk.

See attached from my report. Interesting stuff!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 23andme-crohns1.JPG (110.9 KB, 16 views)

Last edited by tinatin; 07-20-2017 at 03:03 PM.

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