Helicobacter pylori infection in children: population-based age-specific prevalence and risk factors in a developing country

W. Jafri, Aga Khan University
J. Yakoob, Aga Khan University
S. Abid, Aga Khan University
S. Siddiqui, Aga Khan University
S. Awan, Aga Khan University
S. Q. Nizami, Aga Khan University


Aim: We estimated the prevalence, age of acquisition and risk factors for Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) seroprevalence in children aged 1-15 years. Methods: Exposure was assessed using ELISA. Parents responded to a questionnaire regarding number of individuals sharing house, rooms, water source, latrines, housing and assessment of socioeconomic status (SES) by Hollingshead Index. Results: Serum of 1976 children was tested. Helicobacter pylori seropositivity in children aged 11-15 years was 53.5% (OR: 2.0, 95% CI: 1.58-2.5). It increased with moderate crowding index (CRI) of 2-4 to 45.9% (OR: 1.23, 95% CI: 0.92-1.63) and to 51.2% with CRI > 4 (OR: 1.52, 95% CI: 1.12-2.06). In middle SES, seropositivity was 50.5% (331/655) (OR: 1.7, 95% CI: 1.29-2.35), whereas in lower SES, it was 47.1% (500/1062) (OR: 1.5, 95% CI: 1.1-2.0). Multivariate analysis showed that Helicobacter pylori seroprevalence was high in children aged 6-10 and 11-15 years (OR: 1.5, 95% CI: 1.2-1.9 and OR: 1.9, 95% CI: 1.56-2.47 respectively), in lower-middle SES (OR: 1.6, 95% CI: 1.2-2.1 and OR: 1.5, 95% CI: 1.10-2.0 respectively) and in uneducated fathers (OR: 1.58, 95% CI: 1.27-1.95). Conclusion: Helicobacter pylori seropositivity increases with age, in low-middle SES and is related to father's educational status. Reducing H. pylori seroprevalence will require improvement in sanitary conditions and educational status of the population.