Use of chopsticks for eating and Helicobacter pylori infection

Dig Dis Sci. 1999 Jun;44(6):1173-6. doi: 10.1023/a:1026632408804.


Epidemiological data suggests that ethnic groups using chopsticks for eating have a higher prevalence of H. pylori infection. This study investigated the carriage of H. pylori in chopsticks after eating. Used chopsticks and saliva were collected from asymptomatic individuals whose H. pylori status was determined by [13C]urea breath test and serology. Both the saliva specimens and chopsticks were cultured and processed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for the detection of H. pylori. Furthermore, chopsticks used by hospital staff in the cafeteria were pooled for the detection of H. pylori by bacteriologic culture and PCR. Sixty-nine volunteers were recruited in the first study and 45 (65%) were diagnosed to have H. pylori infection. While all cultures were negative, H. pylori was detected by PCR in the saliva from 15 (33%) infected subjects and in the chopsticks from one (2%). Among the 12 sets of pooled chopstick-washing studied, H. pylori was detected by PCR in two sets. This study showed that H. pylori was rarely detected in chopsticks after eating and hence, the risk of contracting this infection via the use of chopsticks is low.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blotting, Southern
  • Cooking and Eating Utensils*
  • DNA, Bacterial / analysis
  • DNA, Bacterial / isolation & purification
  • Electrophoresis, Agar Gel
  • Female
  • Helicobacter Infections / microbiology
  • Helicobacter Infections / transmission*
  • Helicobacter pylori / genetics
  • Helicobacter pylori / growth & development
  • Helicobacter pylori / isolation & purification*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Risk Factors
  • Saliva / microbiology


  • DNA, Bacterial