Epidemiology of Helicobacter pylori Infection


Reprint requests to: Michael Bruce, Arctic Investigations Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4055 Tudor Centre Drive, Anchorage, Alaska 99508, USA. E-mail: zwa8@cdc.gov


This review summarizes studies on the epidemiology of Helicobacter pylori published in peer-reviewed journals between April 2007 and March 2008. Infection with H. pylori often occurs in childhood, and once established, can persist lifelong if untreated. Prevalence of H. pylori infection is higher in developing countries when compared to developed countries, and can vary by ethnicity, place of birth, and socioeconomic factors even among persons living in the same country. Prevalence of infection is decreasing in many countries due to improvements in sanitation and living standards and the relatively recent movement of populations from rural to urban settings; however, post-treatment recurrence rates of H. pylori infection remain high in developing countries, and in given populations within developed countries. In addition, a number of recent studies have begun to explore the possible link between childhood infection with H. pylori and protection against asthma and allergy.