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To investigate the association between Helicobacter pylori infection and anaemia.
Six cross-sectional studies. H. pylori infection was assessed by the [13C]urea breath test using MS or IR analysis. Hb was measured for all countries. Ferritin and transferrin receptors were measured for Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico, and Venezuela.
Health services in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico or public schools in Bolivia, Cuba and Venezuela.
In Argentina, 307 children aged 4–17 years referred to a gastroenterology unit; in Bolivia, 424 randomly selected schoolchildren aged 5–8 years; in Brazil, 1007 adults (157 men, 850 women) aged 18–45 years attending thirty-one primary health-care units; in Cuba, 996 randomly selected schoolchildren aged 6–14 years; in Mexico, seventy-one pregnant women in their first trimester attending public health clinics; in Venezuela, 418 children aged 4–13 years attending public schools.
The lowest prevalence of H. pylori found was among children in Argentina (25·1 %) and the highest in Bolivia (74·0 %). In Bolivia, Cuba and Venezuela children showed similar prevalence of H. pylori infection as in Brazilian and Mexican adults (range 47·5 % to 81·8 %). Overall anaemia prevalence was 11·3 % in Argentina, 15·4 % in Bolivia, 20·6 % in Brazil, 10·5 % in Cuba and 8·9 % in Venezuela. Adjusted analyses allowing for confounding variables showed no association between H. pylori colonization and anaemia in any study. Hb, ferritin and transferrin receptor levels were also not associated with H. pylori infection in any country.
The present study showed no evidence to support the hypothesis that H. pylori contributes to anaemia in children, adolescents, adults or pregnant women in six Latin American countries.
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