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J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 1994 Jul-Aug;9(4):319-24.

Helicobacter pylori prevalence in endoscopy and medical staff.

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  • 1Gastrointestinal Science Group, Monash Medical Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.


The epidemiology and mode of transmission of Helicobacter pylori is currently unclear; it is postulated that the human stomach is the natural reservoir and that spread occurs by faecal-oral or oral-oral transmission. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of H. pylori in gastroenterologists and gastroenterology nurses compared with internists, general nurses and the normal population. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay technique (sensitivity 96%, specificity 88%) was used to detect circulating H. pylori immunoglobulin G antibodies in 39 gastroenterologists, 107 gastroenterology nurses, 25 internists and 42 general nurses. These subjects were compared to an age- and sex-matched Caucasian population obtained by random sampling of an urban population area. The overall prevalence of H. pylori in gastroenterologists was 69% compared to 40% of internists (P < 0.01), 17% of gastroenterology nurses (P < 0.001), 19% of general nurses (P < 0.01) and 32% of controls (P < 0.01). There was no significant difference in H. pylori prevalence between the gastroenterology nurses and controls, general nurses and controls. The prevalence in gastroenterologists increased with years of practice to levels greater than age-matched controls. The prevalence in gastroenterology nurses increased with age and years of working and was similar to age-matched control subjects. These findings of an increased prevalence of H. pylori infection in gastroenterologists performing endoscopy support human-to-human transmission possibly from patients to medical staff.

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