Dore, Maria Pina and Fanciulli, Giuseppe and Tomasi, Paolo and Realdi, Giuseppe and Delitala, Giuseppe and Graham, David Y. and Malaty, Hoda M. (2012) Gastrointestinal symptoms and Helicobacter pylori infection in school-age children residing in Porto Torres, Sardinia, Italy. Helicobacter, Vol. 17 (5), p. 369-373. eISSN 1523-5378. Article.
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Background: Helicobacter pylori infection is typically acquired in childhood, and following the acute event, it is thought that most infections remain
asymptomatic. H. pylori has been suggested to protect against diarrhea in childhood.
Aim: To examine the role of H. pylori in gastrointestinal symptoms in children.
Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional sero-epidemiologic study was conducted in Porto Torres, Sardinia, Italy. Demographic information, socioeconomic
factors, and the frequency of upper gastrointestinal symptoms during the previous 3 months (e.g., abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, heartburn, halitosis, slow digestion, belching, and weight loss) were evaluated by a questionnaire. H. pylori status was determined by ELISA.
Results: Approximately 95% (N = 1741) of school children between the age of 6 and 15 years from Porto Torres participated. The sero-prevalence of H. pylori infection was 13.3% (229/1727) and similar in boys (13%) and girls (14%) (p = .57). Nausea/ vomiting (odds ratio (OR) = 2.2 (95% CI = 1.2–5.1)) and diarrhea (OR = 2.1 (95% CI = 1.3–2.8)) were each significantly associated with H. pylori infection, and these associations remained significant after controlling for other study variables. There was no significant association between H. pylori and abdominal pain or heartburn (p < .25).
Conclusions: The study does not support either a role of H. pylori infection in abdominal pain in children or a protective role against diarrheal illnesses
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