Decreasing Seroprevalence of Helicobacter pylori Infection during 1993–2003 in Guangzhou, Southern China


Reprint request to: M. H. Chen, Department of Gastroenterology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-Sen University, 58 Zhongshan II Road, Guangzhou, China, 510080. Tel.: (86) 20 87332916; Fax: (86) 20 87332916; E-mail: or


Background:  Prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection is inversely associated with socioeconomic conditions. The aim of the study was to evaluate changes in the seroprevalence of H. pylori infection during 1993–2003 in Guangzhou, a representative city of southern China with quick improvement in socioeconomy.

Methods:  From March to August 2003, sera were collected from 1471 healthy persons (760 male and 711 female subjects, aged 3–92 years) undergoing annual routine health examination in Guangzhou. H. pylori infection was checked by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).

Results:  In 2003, the overall prevalence rate of H. pylori infection was 47% with no gender difference (p > .05). Children aged 1–5 years had the prevalence rate of 19.4%. The prevalence rate then increased steadily with annual infection rate of ∼1% after this age, reaching a plateau of ∼55% after the age of 50 years. The peak seroprevalence rate was 63.2% at 40–50 years. Comparing the prevalence rate of H. pylori infection in 2003 with data obtained in 1993, statistically significant decrease of H. pylori infection rate ranged from 11.4 to 18.0% in different age groups was found. The overall age-standardized H. pylori seroprevalence rate was 62.5% in 1993 and 49.3% in 2003. The seroprevalence of H. pylori was found to be significantly decreased over a time span of 10 years (p < .001).

Conclusions:  Our data suggest that the seroprevalence of H. pylori infection has significantly decreased during the 10-year period in Guangzhou. This change may be attributable to the improvement in socioeconomic conditions in this city.