Rural Health Alert:Helicobacter pyloriin Well Water

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PurposeThis exploratory research project is an epidemiological study to determine in a specified population of farmworkers in Southeast Georgia the following: (a) the prevalence rate of gastritis, (b) related cofactors contributing to gastritis with or without a positive diagnosis of Helicobacter pylori (HP), (c) relationship of contaminated drinking water to gastritis, and (d) relative risk of acquiring gastritis from HP-contaminated drinking water.Data sourcesData were collected from five common water sources for 147 farmworkers in rural Southeast Georgia. Farmworkers were given a survey to identify cofactors related to HP gastritis. Water samples were taken from four common well water sources (experimental group) and one control well, analyzed for HP, and associated through nonparametric categorical data analysis to the survey items to discover possible relationships.ConclusionsAnalysis of data using nonparametric regression showed a weak positive relationship (p= 0.07) between symptoms of gastritis and the HP-contaminated water. Risk analysis demonstrated that farmworkers who drank water contaminated with HP were 2.6 times more likely to have symptoms of gastritis.Implications for practiceThis research established a positive relationship between well water contaminated with HP and signs and symptoms of gastritis. Nurse practitioners (NPs) working with populations who drink well water and have the signs and symptoms or positive diagnosis of HP should have a high degree of suspicion that the well water may be a source of HP infection. In addition to treating the patient for HP gastritis, NPs may utilize this research to plan other interventions that decrease the incidence of HP-related illnesses such as recommending well water treatment.

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