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Gastroenterology. 1999 Aug;117(2):336-41.

Low rates of Helicobacter pylori reinfection in children.

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Department of Paediatrics, University College, Dublin, Ireland.



Reinfection after treatment for Helicobacter pylori is uncommon in adults. It is more likely to occur in children because they acquire primary infection. The aim of this study was to determine whether children are likely to become reinfected with H. pylori and if there are any risk factors for reinfection.


A prospective study of children who had documented evidence of successful treatment for H. pylori infection was performed. Sixty children were eligible for inclusion; results for 52 are presented. Children, parents, and siblings underwent [(13)C]urea breath tests. Details of family size and socioeconomic status were documented. Cox logistic regression analysis was used to determine the risk factors for reinfection.


The duration of follow-up was 103.8 patient-years (mean +/- SD, 24 +/-14.0 months). Forty-six (88.5%) of the index children remained clear of infection, and 6 (11.5%) children were reinfected. The mean age of those who became reinfected was 5.8 +/- 5.6 years compared with 12.3 +/- 3.0 years for those who remained clear of infection (P = 0.00001). Only 2 of 46 (4.3%) children older than 5 years of age were reinfected, although 80.8% had 1 infected parent and 65% of siblings were infected. Reinfection rate was 2.0% per person per year in children older than 5 years. Living with infected parents and siblings and low socioeconomic status were not risk factors for reinfection. In logistic regression analysis, age was the only risk factor for reinfection.


Reinfection with H. pylori occurs rarely in children older than 5 years of age regardless of socioeconomic group or number of infected family members. These findings also indicate that it is not necessary to treat all family members to achieve long-term eradication of H. pylori.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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