Volume 61, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Helicobacter pylori is associated with chronic antral gastritis that is related to duodenal ulcer, gastric ulcer, and probably gastric adenocarcinoma. Infection with H. pylori during childhood is considered an important risk factor for gastric carcinoma in adult life. To examine the epidemiologic characteristics of H. pylori infection among preschool children in central Taiwan, a community-based survey was carried out in 54 kindergartens in 10 urban townships, 10 metropolitan precincts, and 2 aboriginal townships randomly selected through stratified sampling. Serum specimens of 2,551 healthy preschool children (3-6 years old) randomly sampled from study kindergartens were screened for antibodies to H. pylori by latex agglutination and ELISA methods. Multivariate-adjusted odds ratios (ORs) with their 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated by multiple logistic regression analysis. A total of 207 subjects were antibody-positive, giving a prevalence of 8.1%. The overall seropositive rates were 4.5% in 3-year-old group, 4.4% in 4-year-old group, 9.4% in 5-year-old group, and 11.7% in 6-year-old group. The older the age, the higher the seroprevalence (OR = 3.2, 95% CI = 1.5-6.8 for 3-year-old children versus the 6-year-old children). Seroprevalence was not different between boys and girls. The aboriginal townships had a seroprevalence greater than the urban townships and metropolitan precincts (OR = 2.6, 95% CI = 1.9-3.7). The larger the number of siblings, the higher the seroprevalence (OR = 2.4, 95% CI = 1.0-5.8 for those with no sibling versus those with > or = 3 siblings). In the multiple logistic regression analysis, the seroprevalence of H. pylori remained significantly increased with age, aboriginal township, and large sibship size after multivariate adjustment. A poor water supply system, sewage disposal, and other environmental hygiene in the aboriginal townships might have played some role in infection with H. pylori. The early childhood transmission among siblings might also be an important determinant of H. pylori seropositivity in Taiwan.


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