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