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Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 1997 Jul-Aug;91(4):393-5.

Seroepidemiological study of Helicobacter pylori infection in South African children.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Medical Research Council, Durban, South Africa.


The seroepidemiology of Helicobacter pylori infection was studied in 681 randomly selected Black children from newborn to 13 years of age (333 boys, mean age 8.05 years, and 348 girls, mean age 7.76 years) in KwaZulu/Natal, South Africa. H. pylori infection was identified serologically using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay to detect the presence of immunoglobulin G against H. pylori. Demographic information collected included age, gender, family income, overcrowding, educational level, and possession of domestic pets. The seroprevalence of H. pylori infection was compared to a known faecal-orally transmitted infection, hepatitis A virus (HAV); 66% of the children were seropositive for H. pylori. There was an age-specific increase in H. pylori infection, with more than 80% of children being infected by the age of 10 years. There was no significant difference (P = 0.338) in the seropositivity of H. pylori infection between boys (68%) and girls (64%), nor was there any significant difference in H. pylori infection related to pets, level of parents' education, crowding, and income, by either univariate or multivariate analysis. However, there was a significant association (P < 0.00001) between the seroprevalence of H. pylori and HAV infections, suggesting similar modes of transmission.

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