Background: Infection with either Helicobacter heilmannii or H. pylori causes gastritis in humans. Whereas the route of transmission of H. pylori appears to be human-human, it has been suggested that H. heilmannii is transmitted by animals.
Methods: Two hundred and two patients with histologically confirmed H. heilmannii gastritis and 600 randomly selected patients with H. pylori gastritis were sent a questionnaire, in which they were asked whether they had had or still have regular contact with dogs, cats, rodents, horses, birds, cattle, pigs, or wild animals.
Results: The questionnaires of 177 patients with H. heilmannii and 485 with H. pylori infection were evaluated. In comparison with H. pylori, H. heilmanii infection was strongly associated with contact with dogs, cats, cattle, or pigs. Logistic regression analysis showed that contact with pigs, cats, and dogs leads to a significant risk of H. heilmannii infection (odds, 4.990, 1.710. and 1.462).
Conclusion: Pigs, cats, and dogs appear to be reservoirs in the transmission of H. heilmannii.