Racial differences in Helicobacter pylori seroprevalence in Singapore: correlation with differences in peptic ulcer frequency

J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 1997 Oct;12(9-10):655-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1746.1997.tb00530.x.


The aim of this study was to determine, first, whether racial differences exist in the seroprevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection in Singapore, and second, whether these differences correlate with racial differences in peptic ulcer frequency. A commercial serological test for immunoglobulin (Ig)G antibody to H. pylori which was 90% sensitive and 83% specific in our population was used to screen 403 adult blood donors of Chinese, Malay and Indian origin, aged between 15-60 years. Serum specimens from 84 paediatric patients admitted to the Paediatrics Department, National University of Singapore, with non-gastroenterological illnesses were also tested. In all three races, seroprevalence of H. pylori increased with age. Indians have the highest prevalence of infection followed by Chinese and Malays. Peptic ulcer prevalences are known to be highest in Chinese, followed by Indians and Malays. The Malays have the lowest prevalence of H. pylori and peptic ulcer among the three races in Singapore. Indians have a higher prevalence of H. pylori antibodies but a lower frequency of peptic ulcer than the Chinese. Racial differences in peptic ulcer frequency between Chinese and Indians are not explained by the prevalence of H. pylori infection; other environmental or genetic factors may be involved.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Continental Population Groups*
  • Helicobacter Infections / diagnosis*
  • Helicobacter Infections / ethnology*
  • Helicobacter pylori / isolation & purification*
  • Humans
  • India / ethnology
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Malaysia / ethnology
  • Middle Aged
  • Peptic Ulcer / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Serologic Tests*
  • Singapore / epidemiology