Helicobacter pylori Colonization Among Children up to 6 Years: Results of a Community-based Study from Northeastern Brazil

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AimTo determine the prevalence and risk factors associated with Helicobacter pylori infection among children up to 6 years.MethodsCross-sectional study carried out in a poor urban community in Fortaleza Northeast Brazil. A standardized questionnaire was applied. Helicobacter pylori status was evaluated by 13C-urea breath test (13C-UBT) in children up to 48 months and by ELISA in the mothers. Sera were assayed by the Cobas Core anti-H. pylori IgG EIA.ResultsThe overall prevalence of H. pylori infection was 40% (88/217), 41% (46/112) boys and 40% (42/105) girls were infected. The prevalence rate of infection by H. pylori increased significantly with age, from 29% (27/93) in the youngest group (3 months to 2 years) to 59% (35/59) in the oldest group (6 years), (p < 0.001). There was no significant difference in the prevalence of infection between gender, height and weight adjusted for age, history of breastfeeding, mother's education, number of people per room, number of people per bed, smoking habit of the mother and children's history of antibiotic intake. A significant difference was found in the prevalence of H. pylori infection and H. pylori status of mother (p=0.02; odds ratio (OR) 2.98; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.19–7.46) that remained significant after adjustment for covariates in multivariate analysis (p=0.012; OR 4.65; 95%CI: 1.39–15.58).ConclusionsThis study shows that children living in low socioeconomic status and poor hygienic conditions are infected very early in childhood. It identifies age and H. pylori positive mother as independent risk factors for infection.

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