Objective Helicobacter pylori colonisation rates in childhood have declined in Western populations, but it is unknown whether this trend is similar in children of non-Western ethnic backgrounds, born in a Western country. We aimed to identify H. pylori status in children, and determine mother-to-child transmission and risk factors for colonisation.
Design Antibodies against H. pylori and cytotoxin-associated gene A (CagA) were measured in children participating in a population-based prospective cohort study in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Information on demographics and characteristics was collected using questionnaires.
Results We analysed the serum of 4467 children (mean age 6.2 years±0.4 SD) and compared the results with the H. pylori status of their mothers (available for 3185 children). Overall, 438 (10%) children were H. pylori-positive, of whom 142 (32%) were CagA-positive. Independent risk factors for colonisation were: maternal H. pylori positivity (OR 2.12; 95% CI 1.62 to 2.77), non-Dutch ethnicity (OR 2.05; 95% CI 1.54 to 2.73), female gender (OR 1.47; 95% CI 1.20 to 1.80) and lower maternal education level (OR 1.38; 95% CI 1.06 to 1.79). Comparing mothers and children, we found an intergenerational decrease of 76% and 77% for Hp+CagA− and Hp+CagA+-strains, respectively, consistent across all nine ethnic groups studied. Male gender, higher maternal educational level and no older siblings, were independently associated with absence of H. pylori.
Conclusions Although the highest H. pylori and CagA prevalence was found in children of non-Dutch ethnicities, the decreased colonisation rates were uniform across all ethnic groups, implying the importance of environmental factors in H. pylori transmission in modern cities, independent of ethnicity.
- HELICOBACTER PYLORI - EPIDEMIOLOGY
- HELICOBACTER PYLORI - IN CHILDREN
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