The prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection among inhabitants and healthy employees of institutes for the intellectually disabled.Am J Gastroenterol. 1997 Jun; 92(6):1000-4.AJ
The prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection varies in the Netherlands from 5% in children to about 50% in the elderly. In the institutionalized intellectually disabled, a high prevalence of infection has been reported. It is unknown whether there are specific risk factors to obtain H. pylori infection in this population, and whether employees of such institutes are at risk for H. pylori infection.
Therefore, we analyzed the seroprevalence of H. pylori antibodies by ELISA among 338 intellectually disabled inhabitants and 254 employees of two institutes. H. pylori-positive patients were compared with H. pylori-negative controls. The intellectually disabled and the employees were evaluated for possible risk factors.
Of the 338 intellectually disabled, 280 (82.8%, median age 51 yr) were infected with H. pylori. This rate is significantly higher than the prevalence of H. pylori in the Dutch population. The presence of H. pylori was significantly associated with male gender, longer duration of institutionalization, an IQ < 50, rumination, and a history of upper abdominal symptoms. Of the 254 employees, 69 (27.2%) were infected, which is equal to the rate for the total Dutch population. The presence of H. pylori infection among employees was, however, significantly associated with a higher level of physical contact with the intellectually disabled, longer duration of employment, and having upper abdominal symptoms.
Intellectually disabled persons are at high risk of developing H. pylori infection. Employees with close physical contact to the intellectually disabled population for a considerable period of time are also at increased risk. H. pylori infection should be considered a job attributable risk in this profession.