Send to

Choose Destination
Lancet. 2002 Mar 16;359(9310):931-5.

Age at acquisition of Helicobacter pylori infection: a follow-up study from infancy to adulthood.

Author information

Department of Medicine, Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.



Helicobacter pylori infection is common worldwide, but the time of acquisition is unclear. We investigated this issue in a cohort of children selected retrospectively from a population followed up for 21 years.


We monitored 224 children (99 black, 125 white; 110 male, 114 female) from 1975-76 (ages 1-3 years) to 1995-96. H pylori status was assessed by presence of serum IgG antibodies.


18 (8.0%) children at age 1-3 years had H pylori antibodies (13% black vs 4% white children, p=0.008). By age 18-23 years, the prevalence of the infection was 24.5% (43% black vs 8% white participants, p< 0.0001). Of the 206 children not infected at baseline, 40 (19%) became infected by age 21-23. The crude incidence rate per year was 1.4% for the whole cohort, ranging from 2.1% at 4-5 years and 1.5% at age 7-9 years to 0.3% at 21-23 years. The seroconversion rate was higher among black than among white children (relative risk 3.3, 95% CI 1.8-6.2, p=0.001). The median age for seroconversion was 7.5 years for both races. Nine of the 58 seropositive children cleared the infection during follow-up. The rate of seroreversion per year was 1.1%; it was highest among children at age 4-5 years (2.2% vs 0.2% at ages 18-19).


Most newly acquired H pylori infections happened before age 10 years. Treatment and preventive strategies should be aimed at children in this age-group.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center