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Scand J Gastroenterol. 1994 Dec;29(12):1061-4.

Helicobacter heilmannii (formerly Gastrospirillum hominis) gastritis: an infection transmitted by animals?

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Dept. of Pathology, Klinikum Bayreuth, Germany.



The source of infection with Helicobacter heilmannii (formerly Gastrospirillum hominis), a relatively rare causative agent of gastritis in humans, is not clear. It has long been known that this organism occurs in the stomach of domestic animals and pets.


By performing an epidemiologic investigation on possible contact of patients with Helicobacter heilmannii gastritis with such animals, we made an attempt to gain further information about the source of infection.


Of 125 patients with confirmed H. heilmannii infection, 111 provided us with information about contact with animals. Some 70.3% of the patients had contact with one or more animals (as compared with 37% in the 'normal' population); 73% were males, and 1.6% had concomitant infection with H. pylori.


Our analysis indicates that H. heilmannii gastritis is due to its transmission to humans by domestic animals or pets. Concomitant infections by H. heilmannii and H. pylori are very rare, and it is possible that H. heilmannii might protect from infection with H. pylori. However, the results of our retrospective analysis will have to be tested against those of a prospective study investigating the day-to-day situation of the individual patients in greater detail and also be compared with patients not infected with H. heilmannii.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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