BACKGROUND & AIMS: Various commensal enteric and potentially pathogenic bacteria may be involved in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). We compared the risk of IBD between a cohort of patients with documented Salmonella or Campylobacter gastroenteritis and an age- and gender-matched control group from the same population in Denmark. METHODS: We identified 13,324 patients with Salmonella/Campylobacter gastroenteritis from laboratory registries in North Jutland and Aarhus counties, Denmark, from 1991 through 2003, and 26,648 unexposed controls from the same counties. Of these, 176 exposed patients with IBD before the infection, their 352 unexposed controls, and 80 unexposed individuals with IBD before the Salmonella/Campylobacter infection were excluded. The final study cohort of 13,148 exposed and 26,216 unexposed individuals were followed for up to 15 years (mean, 7.5 years). RESULTS: A first-time diagnosis of IBD was reported in 107 exposed (1.2%) and 73 unexposed individuals (0.5%). By age, gender, and comorbidity adjusted Cox proportional hazards regression analysis, the hazard ratio (95% confidence interval) for IBD was 2.9 (2.2-3.9) for the whole period and 1.9 (1.4-2.6) if the first year after the Salmonella/Campylobacter infection was excluded. The increased risk in exposed subjects was observed throughout the 15-year observation period. The increased risk was similar for Salmonella (n = 6463) and Campylobacter (n = 6685) and for a first-time diagnosis of Crohn's disease (n = 47) and ulcerative colitis (n = 133). CONCLUSIONS: In our population-based cohort study with complete follow-up, an increased risk of IBD was demonstrated in individuals notified in laboratory registries with an episode of Salmonella/Campylobacter gastroenteritis.