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Cancer Causes Control. 2013 Feb;24(2):209-15. doi: 10.1007/s10552-012-0117-5. Epub 2012 Dec 12.

Epidemiology of Helicobacter pylori infection in six Latin American countries (SWOG Trial S0701).

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Proyecto Epidemiológico Guanacaste, Fundación INCIENSA, Torre La Sabana, 300 mts. Oeste del ICE, planta baja frente al Lobby, Sabana Norte, San Jose, Costa Rica.



To investigate the potential determinants of Helicobacter pylori infection between adults 21-65 years old.


Data are from the initial screening visit of a randomized clinical trial of three antibiotic regimens to eradicate H. pylori, conducted in seven sites (Santiago-Chile, Túquerres-Colombia, Guanacaste-Costa Rica, Copán-Honduras, Obregón and Tapachula-México, León-Nicaragua). Thousand eight hundred and fifty-nine adults from the general population were screened for H. pylori infection using an urea breath test (UBT) and were interviewed to assess socioeconomic-, demographic-, and symptom-related characteristics. Logistic regression was used to assess the relationship between these characteristics and H. pylori positivity at enrollment.


Among the 1,852 eligible participants for whom a conclusive UBT result was obtained, H. pylori prevalence was 79.4 %, ranging from 70.1 to 84.7 % among the seven centers. Prevalence did not differ by sex (female: 78.4, male: 80.9; p = 0.20) or age (p = 0.08). H. pylori positivity increased with increasing number of siblings (p trend <0.0001). Participants with education beyond 12 years were less likely to be UBT-positive (OR 0.4: 0.3-0.6, compared to participants with 0-6 years of schooling) as were those employed outside the home (OR 0.7: 0.6-1.0). Odds of H. pylori infection increased with the presence of certain living conditions during childhood including having lived in a household with an earth floor (OR 1.8: 1.4-2.4), lack of indoor plumbing (OR 1.3: 1.0-1.8) and crowding (OR 1.4: 1.0-1.8, for having more than two persons per bedroom). Regarding current household conditions, living with more than 3 children in the household (OR 1.7: 1.2-2.5) and crowding (OR 1.8: 1.3-2.3) were associated with H. pylori infection.


The prevalence of H. pylori in adults was high and differed significantly among the six Latin American countries studied (p < 0.001). Our findings confirm the strong link between poor socioeconomic conditions and H. pylori infection.

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