Helicobacter pylori infection in Finnish children and adolescents. A serologic cross-sectional and follow-up study

Scand J Gastroenterol. 1995 Sep;30(9):876-9. doi: 10.3109/00365529509101594.


Background: The purpose was to examine the epidemiology of Helicobacter pylori infection in Finnish children and adolescents.

Methods: Blood samples taken from healthy subjects (n = 461) 3-18 years old were studied cross-sectionally for the presence of H. pylori antibodies. Additionally, blood samples drawn in 1980, 1983, 1986, and 1989 from 74 children born in 1977 were tested. Serum IgG-class antibodies to H. pylori were determined by an enzyme immunoassay.

Results: In the cross-sectional series the mean antibody levels and the percentage of seropositive children increased with age. The overall seroprevalence was 10.2%. During the follow-up period from 3 to 12 years of age the seropositivity increased from 4.6% to 5.7%. On the basis of the seroconversions between 3 and 12 years of age the annual incidence of H. pylori infection was calculated to be only 0.3%.

Conclusions: In children seropositivity for H. pylori of the IgG class is often a sign of an infection acquired in early childhood. It seems likely that the age-dependent increase in the seropositivity reflects cumulation of a chronic infection.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Distribution
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / analysis
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Helicobacter Infections / blood
  • Helicobacter Infections / epidemiology*
  • Helicobacter Infections / immunology
  • Helicobacter pylori / immunology*
  • Helicobacter pylori / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Immunoglobulin G / analysis
  • Incidence
  • Prevalence
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Immunoglobulin G