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Active infection with Helicobacter pylori in healthy couples

  • H. BRENNER (a1), D. ROTHENBACHER (a1), G. BODE (a2), P. DIEUDONNÉ (a1) and G. ADLER (a2)...

Abstract

The mode of spread of Helicobacter pylori infection is subject to ongoing debate. Recent studies among patients with gastrointestinal disorders suggest a potential role of conjugal transmission. In this study, the clustering of H. pylori infection was assessed among 110 employees of a health insurance company and their partners. Active infection with H. pylori was measured by the 13C-urea breath test. Information on potential confounders was collected by a standardized questionnaire. Overall, 16 employees (14·5%) and 24 partners (21·8%) were infected. While only 7% (6/86) of employees with an uninfected partner were infected, this applied to 42% (10/24) of employees with an infected partner. A very strong relation between partners' infection status persisted after control for age and other potential confounders (adjusted odds ratio, 7·0; 95% confidence interval, 1·8–26·7). Furthermore, the risk of infection increased with the number of years lived with an infected partner. These results support the hypothesis of a major role of spouse-to-spouse transmission of H. pylori infection.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: University of Ulm, Dept. of Epidemiology, Helmholtzstraße 22, D-89081 Ulm, Germany.

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