In this study, physicians determined the prevalence of serum antibodies directed against Helicobacter pylori in children referred to hospitals or medical centers in the United States.
The team included 992 children from 12 states. There were 619 children who did not have any GI complaints (non-GI referral) and 373 who were referred for endoscopy due to abdominal pain (GI referral)
The children were assessed using a validated anti–H. pylori IgG enzyme immunoassay.
|Children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds were more likely to be seropositive.|
|American Journal of Gastroenterology|
The team found that the GI referral children had a higher rate of seropositivity (23%) than non–GI referral children (14%).
However, in both groups, older children were more likely to be seropositive for H. pylori.
Nonwhite and children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds were also more likely to be seropositive.
Furthermore, H. pylori seropositivity rates were higher in GI referral children with 4 or more household members (relative risk [RR] = 1.47).
The physicians found that when they controlled for age, ethnicity, and household income, the presence of GI symptoms was associated with a 2-fold risk for H. pylori seropositivity (odds ratio = 1.77).
Epigastric pain (RR = 2.21) and having 3 or more episodes of abdominal pain in the last 3 months (RR = 0.59) were the only symptoms associated with H. pylori seropositivity.
Dr Sonny Chong's team concluded, "The H. pylori seropositivity rate of GI referral children with symptoms of abdominal pain was significantly higher".
"H. pylori infection in early childhood was found to be associated primarily with the child's household size and socioeconomic status".