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, 117 (3), e396-404

Endemic Iron Deficiency Associated With Helicobacter Pylori Infection Among School-Aged Children in Alaska

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Endemic Iron Deficiency Associated With Helicobacter Pylori Infection Among School-Aged Children in Alaska

Henry C Baggett et al. Pediatrics.

Abstract

Objectives: Rural Alaska Natives have a high prevalence of iron deficiency and Helicobacter pylori infection. The objective of this study was to estimate the prevalence of iron deficiency, iron-deficiency anemia, and active H pylori infection among school-aged children in rural Alaska.

Methods: We enrolled 68% (688) of the 7- to 11-year-old children from 10 predominantly Alaska Native villages in southwestern Alaska. We collected venous blood samples to assess iron deficiency and anemia. Each child was tested for active H pylori infection by 13C-urea breath test (UBT). Evaluated risk factors included age, gender, village of residence, number of household members, number of household members who were younger than 5 years, recent antibiotic use, and household water source.

Results: Of 688 enrolled children, iron deficiency was present in 38%, iron-deficiency anemia was present in 7.8%, and H pylori infection by UBT was present in 86%. Iron deficiency was independently associated with living in a household with >6 people and village of residence. H pylori infection by UBT was independently associated with child's age > or =10 years and village of residence. Ninety-one percent of children with iron deficiency had H pylori infection by UBT, and children with active H pylori infection were more likely to be iron deficient than uninfected children. Children with H pylori infection by UBT were also more likely to have iron-deficiency anemia than uninfected children.

Conclusions: In this study of nearly 700 children in 10 different villages in Alaska, we confirmed that the high prevalence of iron deficiency persists among school-aged children. We found that active H pylori infection was independently associated with iron deficiency and iron-deficiency anemia among children in this region. H pylori infection may account for a portion of the iron deficiency and iron-deficiency anemia in rural Alaska and other areas with high prevalences of both conditions. Innovative approaches are critically needed to address the iron deficiency in high prevalence areas such as rural Alaska and most of the developing world.

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