The paper covers the invited lecture on 22nd Panhellenic
Congress of Gastroenterology on epidemiology of IBD in
southern Europe. Traditional view has been one of high incidence
rates of IBD in industrialized countries and low
incidence rates in Asia, South America and southern Europe.
Published data still support the existence of the northsouth
gradient in Europe, but many papers emerging from
southern Europe within the last decade show incidence rates
almost identical with rates in northern Europe and UK.
There is still dispute on the reasons for this change, either
a real increase in the incidence of IBD in the south or better
diagnostic process with identification of milder cases.