Heli­cobac­ter py­lori Bac­te­ria fact file

The Irish Times - Tuesday - Health - - Health Gastric Conditions -

The most com­mon chronic bac­te­rial in­fec­tion in hu­mans, thought to af­fect 50 per cent of the world’s pop­u­la­tion, with more cases in de­vel­op­ing world. In­fec­tion rates in Ire­land are about 20 per cent.

An Ir­ish study found that H.py­lori in­fec­tion is ac­quired at a very young age – typ­i­cally less than 5 years – and new in­fec­tion is rare in older chil­dren and adults.

In­fec­tions are re­lated to poor so­cioe­co­nomic con­di­tions in child­hood, poor hy­giene and over­crowd­ing in the home, shar­ing a bed and hav­ing in­fected par­ents.

Mode of trans­mis­sion is un­clear, but prob­a­bly per­son-to-per­son. Parental trans­mis­sion has been re­ported. For ex­am­ple, moth­ers could trans­mit in­fec­tion through mouth se­cre­tions us­ing com­mon spoons or tast­ing child’s food.

The urea breath test (UBT) is ac­cu­rate, easy to per­form and is the rec­om­mended non-in­va­sive test for di­ag­no­sis.

Al­though in­fec­tion can be treated with an­tibi­otics, pa­tient non-com­pli­ance and an­tibi­otic re­sis­tance are the main rea­sons for treat­ment fail­ure. There is no vac­cine avail­able.

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