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Keywords:

  • epidemiology < gastroenterology;
  • Helicobacter pylori < gastroenterology;
  • seroprevalence

Abstract

Background and Aim:  To estimate the sero-prevalence of Helicobacter Pylori infection in the Australian adult population and identify determinants.

Methods:  We analyzed serum samples and questionnaire data from 1355 community controls who participated in a nationwide case-control study of esophageal cancer in Australia between 2002 and 2005. We estimated the prevalence ratio and 95% confidence interval using log binomial regression models.

Results:  The age and sex standardized sero-prevalence of H. pylori was 15.5%. The prevalence of infection varied significantly with age, ranging from 5% (< 40 years) to 32% (≥ 70 years). H. pylori infection was significantly higher among those born overseas (prevalence ratio [PR] 1.63; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.34–1.98) compared with those born in Australia or New Zealand. H. pylori sero-prevalence was 23% higher among participants living in the lowest quartile of socio-economic areas (PR 0.77; 95%CI 0.59–0.99 for Q4 compared with Q1). H pylori serostatus was significantly inversely associated with university education (PR 0.56; 95%CI 0.38–0.83), frequent reflux symptoms (PR 0.62; 95%CI 0.42–0.91), use of proton pump inhibitor (PR 0.69; 95%CI 0.48–0.98) and use of medications for gut spasms (PR 0.48; 95%CI 0.25–0.93). H. pylori serostatus was not associated with body mass index, smoking, alcohol or physical activity.

Conclusions:  The prevalence of H. pylori infection in Australian adults is lower than other developed countries. H. pylori infection is most common among those living in the areas of socio-economic disadvantage or who were born overseas.