Background: Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection is a worldwide phenomenon related to several gastrointestinal diseases. However, because many aspects concerning the route of transmission remain unclear, we performed this epidemiologic study to clarify the route of intrafamilial transmission of H. pylori. Materials and Methods: A retrospective study was performed in three widely separate areas in Japan to investigate the prevalence of H. pylori infection. In 1993, 613 residents were tested as were 4136 in 2002, including 1447 family members of 625 families. Antibody to H. pylori (anti-H. pylori) was determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Results: In 2002, the age-adjusted anti-H. pylori prevalence in Hoshino Village (67.5%) was significantly higher than in Kasuya Town (55.0%) and in Ishigaki City (54.7%) (p <.0001, p =.0039, respectively). The age-adjusted anti-H. pylori prevalence of Ishigaki City significantly decreased from 1993 (68.4%) to 2002 (52.5%), showing an age cohort effect. However, the prevalence did not significantly differ in children aged 0-6 years of Ishigaki City between 1993 (9.6%) and 2002 (10.3%). A familial analysis in 2002 demonstrated that the prevalence of anti-H. pylori was significantly higher in children with anti-H. pylori-positive (21.6%, 22 of 102) than with -negative mothers (3.2%, 3 of 95) (p <.0001, by Mantel-Haenszel test), whereas there was no significant difference between children with anti-H. pylori-positive and -negative fathers. Moreover, the prevalence was significantly higher in wives with anti-H. pylori-positive (64.0%, 208 of 325) than with -negative husbands (46.5%, 80 of 172) (p =.0071, by Mantel-Haenszel test) and in husbands with anti-H. pylori-positive (72.2%, 208 of 288) than with -negative wives (56.0%, 117 of 209) (p =.0106, by Mantel-Haenszel test). Conclusions: In the last decade, H. pylori infection decreased in the general population of Japan by improvement of general hygiene conditions, but did not differ in young children, most likely because of mother-to-child transmission.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Infectious Diseases