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Eur J Epidemiol. 1994 Feb;10(1):109-11.

A descriptive follow-up study on Helicobacter pylori infection before and after exposition to a war area.

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  • 1Department of Endoscopy and Gastroenterology, Meath/Adelaide Hospitals, Dublin, Ireland.


One hundred and thirty asymptomatic Irish soldiers were studied before and after a 6-month peace duty in Lebanon (UNIFIL), to assess the overall prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection, relation with age, rank and education, and any increased risk of developing H. pylori infection in a cohort of asymptomatic people temporarily exposed to low levels of sanitation. Enzyme linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) of specific IgG were performed, at the end of the research, on blood samples taken 1 month before service abroad and within 3 months after the mission. At entry, 41 people were found to have positive H. pylori serology (31.5%), while 89 subjects (68.5%) were H. pylori negative. After 6 months of service in Lebanon, 37 people had H. pylori positive serology (28.5%), while 93 subjects (71.5%) were H. pylori negative. Therefore, no significant change occurred. The prevalence of H. pylori infection increased with age and was more prevalent in lower ranks and in those with non-tertiary education. This study shows that a 6 month long stay in poor sanitation conditions does not imply any increased risk of developing H. pylori infection, which is, however, related to age, lower rank, and non-tertiary education.

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