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Helicobacter. 2002 Apr;7(2):76-85.

Age at acquisition of Helicobacter pylori in a pediatric Canadian First Nations population.

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Department of Medicine, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada.



Few data exist regarding the epidemiology of Helicobacter pylori infections in aboriginal, including the First Nations (Indian) or Inuit (Eskimo) populations of North America. We have previously found 95% of the adults in Wasagamack, a First Nations community in Northeastern Manitoba, Canada, are seropositive for H. pylori. We aimed to determine the age at acquisition of H. pylori among the children of this community, and if any association existed with stool occult blood or demographic factors.


We prospectively enrolled children resident in the Wasagamack First Nation in August 1999. A demographic questionnaire was administered. Stool was collected, frozen and batch analyzed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for H. pylori antigen and for the presence of occult blood. Questionnaire data were analyzed and correlated with the presence or absence of H. pylori.


163 (47%) of the estimated 350 children aged 6 weeks to 12 years, resident in the community were enrolled. Stool was positive for H. pylori in 92 (56%). By the second year of life 67% were positive for H. pylori. The youngest to test positive was 6 weeks old. There was no correlation of a positive H. pylori status with gender, presence of pets, serum Hgb, or stool occult blood. Forty-three percent of H. pylori positive and 24% of H. pylori negative children were < 50th percentile for height (p = 0.024). Positive H. pylori status was associated with the use of indoor pail toileting (86/143) compared with outhouse toileting (6/20) (p = 0.01).


In a community with widespread H. pylori infection, overcrowded housing and primitive toileting, H. pylori is acquired as early as 6 weeks of age, and by the second year of life 67% of children test positive for H. pylori.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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