Seroepidemiology of Helicobacter pylori infection among children seen in a tertiary hospital in Uyo, southern Nigeria

Pan Afr Med J. 2012:12:39. Epub 2012 Jun 21.


Background: Helicobacter pylori infection occurs worldwide with higher seroprevalence rates in the childhood populations of developing countries. In Nigeria, there is a dearth of information concerning its occurrence in children and infection enhancing factors. A prospective seroepidemiologic survey to determine the prevalence rate and possible associations of environmental and socio-demographic factors with its seropositivity was therefore conducted.

Methods: The subjects were children seen at the Children's Emergency Unit of University of Uyo Teaching Hospital in southern Nigeria. Two hundred and thirty subjects, comprising 132(57.4%) males and 98(42.6%) females (male: female ratio= 1.3:1.0) with an age range of 0.5-15 years and a mean age of 5.0 (SD ± 4.0) years were recruited. The median age was 4.0 years. H. pylori immunoglobulin G (1gG) antibody was determined from serum samples stored at -200C using a commercial Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) kit, VicTorch.

Results: The overall seroprevalence rate was 30.9% with a peak prevalence of 40.7% for the 6.0 to 10.0 years age group. H. pylori seroprevalence in our children is associated with low social class (p=0.038), increased household population (p=0.009), source of drinking water (p=0.014), type of convenience used (p=0.019) and the method of disposal of household waste (p=0.043).

Conclusion: The seroprevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection in Nigerian children is high and is associated with low social class, poor domestic water and poor sanitation. Improvement of water supply, human and domestic waste disposal systems and ultimately poverty alleviation would control this bacterial infection that has severe long term consequences.

Keywords: Helicobacter pylori; IgG seropositivity; children; epidemiology.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Helicobacter Infections / blood*
  • Helicobacter Infections / epidemiology*
  • Helicobacter pylori / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood*
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Nigeria
  • Prospective Studies
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Tertiary Care Centers


  • Immunoglobulin G