Background: A birth cohort of 238 children was followed in an urban slum in Dhaka, Bangladesh, to determine incidence, prevalence, and epidemiologic factors related to Helicobacter pylori infection.
Methods: H. pylori infection was determined by a specific stool antigen test as well as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for detecting specific IgA and IgG antibodies in sera in children who completed 2 years of follow-up.
Results: Using the stool antigen test and serology, 50% and 60% of infants respectively, were positive for H. pylori by 2 years; an increase in the infection rate was seen after 6 months of age. Determination of specific antibodies in sera and detection of H. pylori antigen in stool were comparable. A typical seasonality, peaking in spring and autumn, was observed for acquisition of initial H. pylori infection. Children with blood group “A” were more susceptible to H. pylori infection than those with other ABO blood groups. Malnutrition did not seem to promote colonization by H. pylori. However, H. pylori-infected children were more often infected by multiple enteropathogens, often isolated at different time points.
Conclusions: This study shows that noninvasive diagnostic methods such as serology and the stool antigen test are suitable for the study of acquisition of H. pylori infections in infants and can be used in field settings as well as in laboratories and clinical setting having less well equipped facilities. The study also shows seasonality for initial H. pylori infection and a relationship between blood group “A” and infection.