Investigators from Canada and the USA determined the age at acquisition of Helicobacter pylori among the children of Wasagamack, a First Nations community in Northeastern Manitoba, Canada.
They also assessed whether any association existed with stool occult blood or demographic factors.
The authors previously found that 95% of adults in this population are seropositive for H. pylori.
Of the estimated 350 children resident in the Wasagamack First Nation in August 1999 (aged 6 weeks to 12 years), 47% were prospectively enrolled in the study.
A demographic questionnaire was administered.
Stool was collected, frozen, and batch analyzed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for H. pylori antigen and for the presence of occult blood.
Questionnaire data were analyzed and correlated with the presence or absence of H. pylori.
| Youngest H. pylori-positive child was 6 weeks old.
| Helicobacter |
Stool was found to be positive for H. pylori in 56% of the subjects.
By the second year of life, 67% were positive for H. pylori.
The team found that the youngest child to test positive was 6 weeks old.
There was no correlation of a positive H. pylori status with gender, presence of pets, serum hemoglobin, or stool occult blood.
It was found that 43% of H. pylori-positive and 24% of H. pylori-negative children were below the 50th percentile for height.
Positive H. pylori status was significantly associated with the use of indoor pail toileting (86/143) compared with outhouse toileting (6/20).
Samir K. Sinha concluded on behalf of fellow authors, "In a community with widespread H. pylori infection, overcrowded housing, and primitive toileting, H. pylori is acquired as early as 6 weeks of age.
"Furthermore, by the second year of life, 67% of children test positive for H. pylori."