Well water--one source of Helicobacter pylori colonization

Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2004 Sep;207(4):363-8. doi: 10.1078/1438-4639-00301.


Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is one of the world's most widespread microorganisms. Its acquisition in humans remains poorly understood, however, epidemiological studies have identified drinking water as reservoir for the bacterium. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of H. pylori infection among individuals using or drinking previously H. pylori tested well water. Applying household cluster sampling, a total of 91 subjects, all using or drinking well water (13 of either H. pylori positive or negative wells), were screened for their H. pylori status. The group was comprised of 73 adults and 19 children under the age of 18. H. pylori infection was determined using the [13C]urea breath test. A self-administered or parent-completed questionnaire provided information on living conditions and lifestyle habits including the use or drinking of well water. Logistic regression analyses associated the drinking of H. pylori positive well water with a positive colonization status [Odds Ratio (OR) 8.3; 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 2.4-29]. In summary, the use or drinking of H. pylori contaminated well water appears associated with the acquisition of a H. pylori infection. This study is based on a relatively small and inhomogeneous population sample and should be repeated to confirm the results.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Helicobacter Infections / epidemiology
  • Helicobacter Infections / etiology*
  • Helicobacter pylori*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Water Microbiology*
  • Water Supply*