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Jornal de Pediatria

Print version ISSN 0021-7557On-line version ISSN 1678-4782


MORAES, Mônica M. C.  and  SILVA, Gisélia A. P. da. Risk factors for Helicobacter pylori infection in children. J. Pediatr. (Rio J.) [online]. 2003, vol.79, n.1, pp.21-28. ISSN 1678-4782.

Objective: to establish the seroprevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection in children and to identify risk factors for seropositivity. Methods: a cross-sectional study established the seroprevalence of infection by Helicobacter pylori and afterwards a comparative study was performed amongst seropositive and seronegative children. A group of 228 children were cared for at the outpatient clinic of Instituto Materno Infantil de Pernambuco, from May to July 1999. Age, sex, indicators of environmental, social and economic conditions, health and nutritional status as well as children living in contact with dwellers with history of gastrointestinal pain or peptic disease were evaluated. All data was obtained through an interview with children's parents or caretakers. Nutritional status was evaluated by anthropometric index. Results: seroprevalence of infection caused by Helicobacter pylori was found in 32% (95% CI 26% - 38%); 25.8% (95% CI 17.8% - 33.8%) in preschool children and 39.4% (95% CI 30.4% - 48.4%) in school age children. Analysis of environmental variables demonstrated higher frequency of seropositivity in children living in houses without toilets or sanitary flush toilet facilities (p = 0.008), overcrowded (p = 0.05), lower family income (p = 0.03) and poor maternal education (p = 0.002). There were no statistically significant differences between the groups regarding health indicators, anthropometric indexes and children living with dwellers with history of gastritis or peptic ulcer. Conclusions: seroprevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection was high in the studied population, being even higher among the school age group. A positive association between seropositivity and less favorable environmental variables was detected.

Keywords : Helicobacter infections; risk factors.

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