Infectious intestinal diseases (IID) are common, affecting around 25% of people in UK each year at an estimated annual cost to the economy, individuals and the NHS of £1.5 billion. While there is evidence of higher IID hospital admissions in more disadvantaged groups, the association between socioeconomic status (SES) and risk of IID remains unclear. This study aims to investigate the relationship between SES and IID in a large community cohort.
Longitudinal analysis of a prospective community cohort in the UK following 6836 participants of all ages was undertaken. Hazard ratios for IID by SES were estimated using Cox proportional hazard, adjusting for follow-up time and potential confounding factors.
In the fully adjusted analysis, hazard ratio of IID was significantly lower among routine/manual occupations compared with managerial/professional occupations (HR 0.74, 95% CI 0.61–0.90).
In this large community cohort, lower SES was associated with lower IID risk. This may be partially explained by the low response rate which varied by SES. However, it may be related to differences in exposure or recognition of IID symptoms by SES. Higher hospital admissions associated with lower SES observed in some studies could relate to more severe consequences, rather than increased infection risk.