The exact mode of spread of Helicobacter pylori is still unknown.
In this study, researchers from France determined whether gastroenteritis in young people infected with H. pylori could lead to the acquisition of the bacterium by their peers.
The team assessed all 112 residents in a French institution for neurologically handicapped children and adolescents.
|7 residents became H. pylori-positive during follow-up.|
|British Medical Journal|
The researchers evaluated H. pylori infection present at the beginning of the study using the non-invasive HpSA stool antigen test. The residents were then followed for 1 year.
The team defined gastroenteritis as a sudden outbreak of liquid stools in more than 2 residents concurrently.
The research team found that the prevalence of H. pylori infection at the beginning of the study was 42%.
They determined that 7 of the 65 residents who were initially H. pylori-negative became positive during follow up.
Of these 7 residents, 5 had frequent contacts with the infected patients during physiotherapy and entertainment sessions.
The team found that conversion occurred 3 to 11 weeks after a peak of potentially infective diarrhea.
The researchers identified an association between gastroenteritis and subsequent acquisition of H. pylori infection in cohabiting young people.
Dr Rémi Laporte and colleagues concluded, "This chronological link suggests that…there might be a causal link between outbreaks of gastroenteritis and transmission of H. pylori.