Short report: socioeconomic and seasonal variations of Helicobacter pylori infection in patients in Venezuela.

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  • 1 Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas, Caracas, Venezuela.

Infection by Helicobacter pylori is recognized as a risk factor for gastric cancer and peptic ulcer disease. Venezuela has regions with different gastric cancer risks; the Andean region has the highest gastric cancer mortality in the country. We performed a cross-sectional study on 357 patients who underwent endoscopy attending 2 private (n = 76) and one public hospital in Caracas, Venezuela (n = 215), and one public hospital in the Andes (n = 66) to determine H. pylori infection (by a rapid biopsy urease test and histology). The proportion of infected patients in Caracas was significantly higher in public hospitals (72%) than in private hospitals (46%; P = 0.00001), and there was no significant variation the Andes and Caracas (P = 0.7001). When analyzing the data from the public hospital in Caracas, we found that the frequency of infected patients was significantly higher during the rain (96%) than during the dry months (70%, P = 0.00000001). Differences in prevalence of infection in symptomatic patients was not related to the risk of gastric cancer but to socioeconomic differences. Rain-dependent factors that may be exacerbating the clinical activity of nonulcer dyspepsia in people infected with H. pylori deserve further study.