The seroprevalence of IgG antibodies to Helicobacter pylori was determined using a standard enzyme linked immunosorbent assay in a population of 749 randomly selected men, aged 30-75 years, from Caerphilly, South Wales. The overall prevalence of H pylori was 56.9%, increasing sharply in middle age from 29.8% in those aged 30-34 to over 59% in those aged 45 or older (p less than 0.0001). Age standardised seroprevalence rates were lowest in combined social class categories I and II (49.2%), intermediate in categories IIIN and M (57.5%), and highest in categories IV and V (62.2%) (p = 0.01). In those aged 30-34 years, the prevalence rate for those in combined social class categories IV and V was 57.9% - double the rate for social class categories IIIM and N (28.3%) and five times the prevalence rate in those in social class categories I and II (11.1%). These differences in the infection patterns of H pylori by social class are consistent with patterns of peptic ulcer disease and gastric cancer.
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