The mode of transmission of Helicobacter pylori infection is poorly characterized. In northern California, 2,752 household members were tested for H. pylori infection in serum or stool at a baseline visit and 3 months later. Among 1,752 person considered uninfected at baseline, 30 new infections (7 definite, 7 probable, and 16 possible) occurred, for an annual incidence of 7% overall and 21% in children <2 years of age. Exposure to an infected household member with gastroenteritis was associated with a 4.8-fold (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.4-17.1) increased risk for definite or probable new infection, with vomiting a greater risk factor (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 6.3, CI 1.6-24.5) than diarrhea only (AOR 3.0, p = 0.65). Of probable or definite new infections, 75% were attributable to exposure to an infected person with gastroenteritis. Exposure to an H. pylori-infected person with gastroenteritis, particularly vomiting, markedly increased risk for new infection.