Prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection in different ethnic groups in New Zealand children and adults

Aust N Z J Med. 1996 Oct;26(5):646-51. doi: 10.1111/j.1445-5994.1996.tb02934.x.


Background: Helicobacter pylori infection is a major risk factor for peptic ulcer disease and gastric cancer. A study of patients with dyspepsia attending for gastroscopy showed significant differences in H. pylori seropositivity between ethnic groups.

Aims: To determine the prevalence of H. pylori in children and adults in the community in different ethnic groups and to identify risk factors for infection.

Methods: Serum samples (324) were randomly selected from a cross-sectional survey of 11-12 year old school children with a high proportion of Maori and Pacific Island groups. Serum samples (579) were randomly selected from a cross-sectional workforce survey of 5677 participants aged 40-64 years. Serum samples were tested for H.pylori IgG.

Results: The percentage seropositivity in 11-12 year old children was European 7%, Maori/part Maori 21%, all Pacific Island groups 48% and for the workforce survey 35.8%, 57.4% and 73.2% respectively. Compared with Europeans the increased relative risk of seropositivity for H.pylori in Maori and Pacific Island participants was significant after adjusting for age and socio-economic status (1.43 [1.13, 1.80] and 1.76 [1.43, 2.18]) respectively. The relative risk of H.pylori infection significantly increased with age, lower socio-economic status and lower household income, but was not significantly associated with gender, alcohol or cigarette use.

Conclusions: The high seroprevalence of H.pylori in Maori and Pacific Island groups is consistent with the differences in incidence of gastric cancer. H.pylori continues to be a common infection in Maori and Pacific Island school children. Ethnicity appears to be a risk factor for H.pylori independent of socio-economic status.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / analysis
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Ethnicity*
  • Female
  • Helicobacter Infections / epidemiology*
  • Helicobacter pylori* / immunology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Risk
  • Social Class


  • Antibodies, Bacterial