Seroepidemiology of Helicobacter pylori infection and hepatitis A in a rural area: evidence against a common mode of transmission.Gut. 1997 Aug; 41(2):164-8.Gut
BACKGROUND AND AIMS
Recent studies have shown that the age-specific seroprevalence of H pylori infection parallels hepatitis A (HAV), suggesting similar modes of transmission. The aim of this study was to investigate the seroepidemiology of H pylori and HAV in the same setting.
A sample of 705 resident subjects (273 men, age range 1-87 years, median 50) who attended the outpatient medical centre of the rural town of Cirò, Southern Italy (11,000 inhabitants) for blood testing were recruited.
All subjects completed a structured questionnaire. A serum sample was drawn from each subject and assayed for H pylori IgG by a validated in house enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. Antibodies to HAV were determined in 466 subjects (163 men, age range 1-87 years, median 49). A measure of agreement between H pylori and HAV seropositivity, the kappa statistic, was used.
Overall, 446 (63%) subjects were seropositive for H pylori. Of the 466 subjects screened for both H pylori and HAV, 291 (62%) were seropositive for H pylori and 407 (87%) for HAV. Cross-tabulation of these data showed that 275 (59%) were seropositive and 43 (9%) seronegative for both H pylori and HAV, 16 (3%) were seropositive for H pylori, and 132 (28%) were seropositive for HAV (OR = 5.6, CI 3 to 10). There was a parallel, weakly correlated (r = 0.287) rise in the seroprevalence of the two infections with increasing age. However, the agreement between H pylori and HAV seropositivity was little better than chance (kappa = 0.21) and in those aged less than 20 years it was worse than chance (kappa = -0.064). Furthermore, multiple logistic regression analysis did not show any risk factor shared by both infections.
The correlation between H pylori and HAV reflects the age-specific seroprevalence of both infections rather than a true association. This study provides evidence against a common mode of transmission of H pylori and HAV.