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Keywords:

  • H. pylori risk factors;
  • transmission;
  • prevalence;
  • incidence

Abstract

This review summarizes studies on the epidemiology and public health implications of Helicobacter pylori published in peer-reviewed journals from April 2010 through March 2011. Prevalence rates vary widely between different geographical regions and ethnic groups. An interesting study from the USA identified the degree of African ancestry as an independent predictor of H. pylori infection. Two studies have demonstrated early childhood as the period of transmission of infection and identified an infected sibling as an important risk factor. An oral–oral route of spread has been substantiated with several studies showing the presence of H. pylori in the oral cavity. Studies have shown the presence of H. pylori in drinking water and the role of poor living conditions and sanitation in H. pylori infection, supporting an oral–fecal route of spread. Screening for H. pylori as a gastric cancer pre-screening strategy has been described in Japan, and the importance of H. pylori eradication as a gastric cancer–prevention strategy has now been further emphasized in Japanese guidelines. Two studies have shown a decrease in the burden of dyspepsia and peptic ulcer disease with H. pylori eradication.