Seroprevalence of Helicobacter pylori in Chile: vegetables may serve as one route of transmission

J Infect Dis. 1993 Jul;168(1):222-6. doi: 10.1093/infdis/168.1.222.


Helicobacter pylori infection is very common in Chilean adults, but the age-related prevalence, risk factors for infection, and mode of transmission in Chilean children are unknown. An ELISA was used to test for H. pylori antibodies in 1815 Chileans < 35 years of age. Seropositivity was > 60% in lower socioeconomic groups. H. pylori seropositivity correlated with increased age, low socioeconomic status, and consumption of uncooked vegetables by use of a logistic regression analysis. Risk factors that reached marginal significance were consumption of uncooked shell-fish, female sex, and residence in Santiago. Although multiple modes of transmission for H. pylori undoubtedly exist, prior studies have suggested that contamination of irrigation water by raw sewage (and the subsequent contamination of vegetables that are eaten uncooked) is a key factor in the transmission of enteric pathogens in Chile; H. pylori may be transmitted by a similar route.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chile / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Helicobacter Infections / epidemiology*
  • Helicobacter Infections / transmission
  • Helicobacter pylori / isolation & purification*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Sewage
  • Vegetables / microbiology*


  • Sewage