Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2000 Jun;12(6):623-7.

Evidence favouring the gastro-oral route in the transmission of Helicobacter pylori infection in children.

Author information

  • 1Dipartimento di Medicina Sperimentale e Clinica, UniversitĂ  di Catanzaro, Magna Graecia, Italy.



Several studies support the view that Helicobacter pylori is acquired in early life and within families. However, the exact route of transmission remains unknown. Given that H. pylori colonizes only the human gastric mucosa, the hypothesis that history of vomiting in siblings may be a relevant risk factor was tested in a paediatric setting.


One hundred urban children (age range 0.8-16.6 years, median 9), 44% with evidence of active H. pylori infection, were recruited. A structured questionnaire dealing with socio-economic issues was completed. Vomiting siblings and siblings of vomiting index children were screened for H. pylori by means of (13)C-urea breath test. Serum samples from index children were assayed for immunoglobulin G to hepatitis A (HAV) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) in order to check for faecal-oral and oral-oral exposure, respectively.


Vomiting siblings of H. pylori-infected index children and siblings of H. pylori-infected vomiting index children had a high rate of active H. pylori infection (60 and 67%, respectively). History of vomiting in siblings was positively associated with active H. pylori infection in the index children (multivariate odds ratio 2.4, 95% confidence interval 1.3-4.3). Seropositivity for HAV and EBV was found in 1 and 68 index children, respectively. The agreement between active H. pylori infection and EBV seropositivity was not significant (kappa = 0.26).


History of vomiting in siblings is an independent risk factor for H. pylori. Nowadays, transmission of H. pylori in urban children may involve the gastro-oral route more than the faecal-oral or oral-oral pathways.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk