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Am J Gastroenterol. 2003 Nov;98(11):2395-402.

High rates of recurrence and of transient reinfections of Helicobacter pylori in a population with high prevalence of infection.

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Unidad de Investigación en Enfermedades Infecciosas, Centro Médico Nacional Siglo XXI, Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, México City, México.



Little is known concerning the magnitude of reinfection versus recrudescence of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection after eradication treatment. The aims of this study were to determine the magnitude of H. pylori reinfection versus recrudescence, and to identify possible risk factors for reinfection.


Children and adults with upper GI symptoms treated at the Centro Médico Nacional Siglo XXI (Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, in Mexico City, Mexico) were studied. H. pylori infection was diagnosed with urea breath test (UBT), histology, and culture. Infected patients received triple therapy, and those who became UBT negative 4-6 wk after treatment were considered as eradicated and were included in the study. A cohort of 141 patients in whom the disease was eradicated was monitored for recurrence with UBT at 3, 6, 9, 12, 18, and 24 months. H. pylori was isolated from gastric biopsy samples before treatment and at recurrence and isolates compared by genotyping.


During this period, 32 (22.7%) cases of recurrence were documented the majority occurring during yr 1. In nine of the 32 (28.1%) cases, recurrence was eradicated spontaneously, suggesting these were transient reinfections. Recurrence rates were significantly higher in the subjects 41-60 yr of age than in younger or older subjects. H. pylori isolates from 12 recurrence cases were genotyped; nine (75%) were classified as true reinfection and three as recrudescence.


In our population, recurrence rate is high in adults and transient reinfection is common. In several cases, reinfection occurred by multiple strains, which suggests that soon after eradication, patients are exposed to multiple sources of reinfection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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