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
Helicobacter pylori infection and mode of transmission in a population at high risk of stomach cancer
Ma, JL., You, WC., Gail, MH., Zhang, LI., Blot, WJ., Chang, YS., Jiang, J., Liu, WD., Hu, YR., Brown, L., Xu, GW., & Fraumeni, JF. (1998). Helicobacter pylori infection and mode of transmission in a population at high risk of stomach cancer. International Journal of Epidemiology, 27(4), 570-573.