Helicobacter pylori DNA in drinking water in Japan

Microbiol Immunol. 2001;45(7):515-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1348-0421.2001.tb02652.x.


Helicobacter pylori has been detected in drinking water in Peru and Sweden, suggesting the possibility of water-borne transmission. To date there have been few reports of H. pylori being detected in water; one was of the ureA gene of H. pylori in wells and springs in rural Japan. We examined water sampled in or near urban areas of Japan for H. pylori DNA by three assays using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Near Tokyo, samples were obtained: 10 of tap water, 6 of well water, 10 of river water, and 10 of sea water. Samples were filtered with membranes with 0.05- or 0.22-microm pores, which bacterial cells are caught by. Bacterial nucleic acids were extracted and purified and the PCR was done to amplify adhesin specific for H. pylori and the ureA gene, if present. Real-time PCR that measured the yield in terms of fluorescence was done with primers for 16S rRNA. None of the samples of tap, river, or sea water contained adhesin, ureA or 16S rRNA. None of the 6 samples of well water contained adhesin or ureA, but 2 of the 6 samples contained 16S rRNA. Some of the users of the well had had H. pylori infection in the past. H. pylori DNA was detected in well water and the users had been infected, so water-borne transmission via well water may occur even in towns in Japan.

MeSH terms

  • Adhesins, Bacterial / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • DNA, Bacterial / analysis*
  • DNA, Ribosomal / analysis
  • Helicobacter pylori / genetics
  • Helicobacter pylori / isolation & purification*
  • Japan
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Water Microbiology*
  • Water Supply*


  • Adhesins, Bacterial
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • DNA, Ribosomal
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S