In 1990, to study regional prevalences and risk factors of
Helicobacter pylori infection in
healthy young adult males, sera were collected from a nationwide sample
of 1659 males (mean
age 20·7 years) at introduction into the Air Force School for
military students in Caserta, Italy.
An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was used to detect H. pylori
G antibodies. The observed overall seropositivity rate was 17·5%
(95% CI 15·7–19·4).
Prevalence was higher in southern Italy and in the Italian islands as compared
Italy and central Italy (21·3% vs. 9·5%). Multiple
logistic regression analysis showed that
residence in southern areas and islands was the strongest predictor of
the likelihood of H.
pylori seropositivity; number of siblings in the household was
marginally associated; years of
father's schooling was not a significant predictor. H. pylori
positive subjects were more likely
positive for antibodies to hepatitis A virus infection (anti-HAV) than
H. pylori negative
(35·4% vs. 24·9%; Odds Ratio 1·7, 95% CI 1·3–2·2).
Adjustment for the confounding effect of
sociodemographic variables weakened this association (OR 1·3,
95% CI 1·0–1·7). These
findings suggest that differences in environmental conditions rather than
status may have played the major role in the different spread of H.
infection across the country.