Objective: Most Helicobacter pylori infections occur during childhood, but the health effects of childhood infection are poorly understood. We investigated whether growth decreases in the 2 months after acute H. pylori seroconversion.
Methods: We performed a nested case-control study among children 6 months to 12 years of age in a community on the outskirts of Lima, Peru. Health interviews were completed daily. Anthropometric measurements were taken monthly. Sera were collected every 4 months and tested for H. pylori immunoglobulin G. Two-month height and weight gains of seroconverters were compared with gains of sex, age, and size-matched seronegative controls.
Results: In the 2 months after H. pylori infection, 26 seroconverters gained a median of 24% less weight than 26 matched controls (interquartile range, 63% less to 21% more). In multivariate analysis, H. pylori infection attenuated weight gain only among children aged 2 years or older. This decrease was not explained by increased diarrhea.
Conclusions: H. pylori seroconversion is associated with a slowing of weight gain in children aged 2 years or older. Reasons for this finding merit additional study.
*Division of Infectious Diseases and Geographic Medicine, Stanford University Medical Center, Stanford, California, U.S.A., †United States Naval Military Research Detachment, Lima, Peru, ‡Asociasión Benéfica Proyectos de Informática, Salud, Medicina, y Agricultura, Lima, Peru, and §Department of International Medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.
Supported in part by grant no. K23 AI01602 from the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD.
Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Douglas J. Passaro, University of Illinois–Chicago, 1603 W. Taylor Street, SPHPI Room 958 (M/C922), Chicago, IL 60612 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).