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Dig Dis Sci. 1998 Jul;43(7):1488-92.

Suggestion against an oral-oral route of transmission for Helicobacter pylori infection: a seroepidemiological study in a rural area.

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Dipartimento di Medicina Sperimentale e Clinica and Cattedra di Microbiologia, Università di Catanzaro, Italy.


In this study the seroepidemiology of H. pylori and Epstein-Barr virus was compared in the same setting. A sample of 705 subjects completed a structured questionnaire. A serum sample was drawn from each subject and assayed for H. pylori IgG. Antibodies to Epstein-Barr virus were determined in a subgroup of 466 subjects. Cross-tabulation of data showed that 274 (58.8%) subjects were seropositive and 20 (4.3%) were seronegative for both infections, 17 (3.6%) were seropositive for H. pylori, and 155 (33.3%) were seropositive for Epstein-Barr virus (odds ratio=2.08, 95% confidence interval: 1.008-4.3). Nevertheless, the agreement between H. pylori and Epstein-Barr virus seropositivity was no better than chance (kappa=0.067) and the age-related seroprevalence curve of Epstein-Barr virus was similar in H. pylori seropositive and seronegative subjects. Furthermore, multiple logistic regression analysis did not show any risk factor shared by both infections. The findings of this study do not support the hypothesis that H. pylori and Epstein-Barr virus share a common mode of transmission. It can be speculated that the oral cavity may not be an important reservoir for H. pylori.

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