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Prevalence of Helicobacter pylori among Alaskans: Factors Associated with Infection and Comparison of Urea Breath Test and Anti-Helicobacter pylori IgG antibodies
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    Helicobacter pylori is one of the most common human infections in the world and studies in Alaska Native people, as well as other Indigenous peoples, have shown a high prevalence of this gastric infection. This study was undertaken to determine the prevalence of H. pylori infection by urea breath test (UBT) and anti-H. pylori IgG among Alaskans living in four regions of the state and to identify factors associated with infection.


    A convenience sample of persons > 6 months old living in five rural and one urban Alaskan community were recruited from 1996 to 1997. Participants were asked about factors possibly associated with infection. Sera were collected and tested for anti-H. pylori IgG antibodies; a UBT was administered to participants > 5 years old.


    We recruited 710 people of whom 571 (80%) were Alaska Native and 467 (66%) were from rural communities. Rural residents were more likely to be Alaska Native compared with urban residents (p<0.001). Of the 710 people, 699 (98%) had a serum sample analyzed and 634 (97%) persons > 5 years old had a UBT performed. H. pylori prevalence was 69% by UBT and 68% by anti-H. pylori IgG. Among those with a result for both tests, there was 94% concordance. Factors associated with H. pylori positivity were Alaska Native racial status, age ≥ 20 years, rural region of residence, living in a crowded home, and drinking water that was not piped or delivered.


    H. pylori prevalence is high in Alaska, especially in Alaska Native persons and rural residents. Concordance between UBT and serology was also high in this group. Two socioeconomic factors, crowding and drinking water that was not piped or delivered, were found to be associated with H. pylori positivity.

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