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Int J Epidemiol. 1998 Aug;27(4):570-3.

Helicobacter pylori infection and mode of transmission in a population at high risk of stomach cancer.

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1
Weifang Blood Center, Shandong, China.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a recognized cause of chronic gastritis and peptic ulcer disease, and is strongly suspected to play a role in the aetiology of stomach cancer but little is known about the mode of transmission.

AIM:

To determine the prevalence of H. pylori infection in children and investigate potential modes of transmission in rural China.

SUBJECTS AND SETTING:

We examined 98 children aged 3-12 years and 289 adults aged 35-64 years in a village in Linqu County, China, which has one of the highest rates of stomach cancer in the world.

METHOD:

H. pylori infection was determined by 13C-urea breath test in children and by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in adults.

RESULTS:

Among 98 tested children, 68 (69%) were H. pylori positive, but the prevalence rates varied as a function of age, rising from about 50% at ages 3-4 to 85% at ages 9-10 before falling to 67% at ages 11-12. Boys had a higher infection rate than girls (77.8% versus 59.1%, P < 0.05). Among 289 adults, 195 (68%) were H. pylori positive, with a somewhat higher rate of positivity in younger compared to older age groups. The prevalence of H. pylori infection clustered within families. In families with at least one infected parent, 85% of children were H. pylori positive, while in families with both parents uninfected, only 22% of children were H. pylori positive (odds ratio [OR] = 30.4, 95% CI : 4.0-232).

CONCLUSIONS:

These findings demonstrate the acquisition of H. pylori infection during early childhood in a population at high risk of stomach cancer, in a manner consistent with a person-to-person mode of transmission between parents and children.

PMID:
9758108
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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