• H. pylori;
  • hepatitis A;
  • epidemiology;
  • prevalence;
  • risk factors


Background:  The seroprevalence rate of Helicobacter pylori in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) was reported to be in the range of 50–80% among mostly symptomatic patients in non-community-based studies. However, the seroprevalence of viral hepatitis A (HAV) underwent a marked decline in the last two decades from over 50% in 1989 to 25% in 1997 among Saudi children under the age of 12 years. The aim of this paper was to study seroprevalence rates of H. pylori and HAV among the adolescent population in three regions of KSA and to determine whether there was any correlation between them.

Materials and methods:  We randomly selected 1200 16–18-year-old students from three regions around KSA. Demographic data, including socioeconomic status (SES), were recorded, and each student was tested for the presence of H. pylori-IgG antibodies and anti-HAV-IgG.

Results:  The results indicate a high H. pylori infection rate (47%) among this age group. Boys had a higher prevalence than girls (p = .03), and the Al-Qaseem region had the highest prevalence (51%, p = .002). SES did not contribute to the high prevalence rates (p = .83). A cross-tabulation of data showed that 88 (8%) of the teenagers were seropositive and that 512 (44%) were negative for both H. pylori and HAV antibodies (χ2 = 0.03, OR = 0.97, CI = 0.70–1.34). The agreement between H. pylori and HAV seropositivity was lower than would be predicted by chance (κ = −0.03). The variables that were independently associated with seropositivity to H. pylori were being female (OR = 0.75, 95% CI = 0.60–0.95) and living in the Madinah region (OR = 0.72, 95% CI = 0.55–0.94).

Conclusion:  The prevalence of H. pylori in this group of adolescents was high. However, there was no correlation between H. pylori and HAV infection rates. Hence, factors contributing to the transmission source and route seem to be different.