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Scand J Infect Dis. 1998;30(4):371-6.

Risk factors for infection with Helicobacter pylori--a study of children in rural Ethiopia.

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Division of Infectious Diseases, Huddinge University Hospital, Sweden.


The public health impact of Helicobacter pylori (HP) infection is gradually becoming obvious, the bacterium now being implicated as an aetiologic agent in a variety of gastric diseases. Transmission routes still remain unknown, although single risk factors, such as domestic crowding (especially bed-sharing) in childhood and low parental socioeconomic status, have been pointed out in studies from developed countries. In an attempt to study the risk factors in a developing country, we performed a case control study of 242 randomly selected children aged 2-4 y in Butajira rural area in Ethiopia. Blood samples were drawn and a questionnaire administered. The total prevalence of IgG antibody to HP among the children in the region was 48% (116/242). Several risk factors such as: crowding, water, animals, sanitation, etc. correlated strongly to seropositivity in a univariate analysis. After controlling for possible confounding, independent predictors of seropositivity were: living in town (OR = 2.15, p = 0.001), increasing age (OR = 1.71, p = 0.060), and being a Muslim (OR = 1.54, p = 0.005). It could not be excluded that a bad water supply in town could explain the difference in seroprevalence between town and village. These results indicate that, in developing countries, factors relating to community and religion might be as important risk factors for infection with HP in children as characteristics of the family or the home.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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