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HELICOBACTER PYLORI INFECTION IN CHILDREN OF LOW AND HIGH SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS IN NORTHEASTERN BRAZIL

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  • 1 Department of Gastroenterology and Department of Pediatrics and Gynecology, Federal University of Piaui, Piaui, Brazil; Department of Public Health, Federal University of Ceará, Ceará, Brazil; Gastrocenter, State University of Campinas, Sao Paulo, Brazil
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This survey was designed to evaluate the prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection in asymptomatic children from families of low and high socioeconomic status living in two neighboring communities in Teresina in northeastern Brazil. The study included 303 children, 163 (53.8%) males and 140 (46.2%) females, ranging in age from 6 months to 12 years. Helicobacter pylori status was determined by the H. pylori stool antigens test, in which sensitivity and specificity values for Brazilian children were 96.9% and 100%, respectively. The prevalence rates were 55.0% (93 of 169) and 16.4% (22 of 134) for children of low and high socioeconomic status, respectively (P < 0.001). Infection with H. pylori occurred early in life (before 2 years of age) in both groups (22.9% versus 14.3%; P = 0.061) and increased as the children became older. The rate of infection in children 11–12 years of age living in the poor area was as high as the levels found in Brazilian adults. An improved standard of living is followed by a sharp decrease in the prevalence rates in children, even in a developing country such as Brazil.

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