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Braz J Infect Dis. 2005 Oct;9(5):405-10. Epub 2006 Jan 6.

Helicobacter pylori infection in adults from a poor urban community in northeastern Brazil: demographic, lifestyle and environmental factors.

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Clinical Resaerch Unity-University Hospital Walter Cantideo, Department of Internal Medicine, Federal University of Ceará, Avenida José Bastos 3390, Porangabussu, Fortaleza, CE, Brazil.


We investigated the prevalence and the risk factors for infection with Helicobacter pylori in a randomly-selected population of adults from a low-income community in Northeastern Brazil. Helicobacter pylori infection was determined by ELISA. Risk factors were assessed using a structured interview. Two hundred and four individuals were included in the study, including 49 males and 155 females, ranging from 18 to 80 years old. Overall, 165 of 204 participants (80%) were H. pylori positive, without significant gender differences (p= 0.49). The infection rate was of 84.7% in subjects 18 to 30 years of age, increasing to 92% in subjects 46-60 years old. Above 60 years old, the prevalence decreased slightly. As a whole, the prevalence of infection did not increase significantly (p=0.147) with age. There were no significant differences in the prevalence of H. pylori infection, when patients were classified by age, smoking habit, educational level, alcohol consumption, the number of persons per room, the number of children per household, the number of adults per household, cup-sharing, household pets, toilet location, number of persons per bed and medical history of antibiotic and raw vegetable ingestion. In conclusion, no risk factors associated with infection was found in these adults, suggesting that the infection, even in a poor population, may be acquired predominantly during childhood; the relatively high prevalence that we observed may be more due to a cohort effect than to acquisition of infection during adulthood.

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