Total Family Unit Helicobacter Pylori Eradication and Pediatric Re-Infection Rates
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Authors: Farrell, S., Milliken, I., Doherty, G.M., Murphy, J.L., Wootton, S.A. and McCallion, W.A.
Background. Re-infection with Helicobacter pylori is more common in children than adults, and it is generally accepted that the family unit plays a significant role in primary childhood infection. We investigated whether the family unit plays a significant role in pediatric re-infection and if eradication of H. pylori from the entire family reduces the risk of childhood re-infection.
Methods. Fifty families, each with an H. pylori-infected pediatric index case (mean age 9.48 years), were recruited. A 13carbon urea breath test was performed on all family members in the same house as the index case. Each family unit was randomized into a 'family unit treatment' group (all infected family members treated) or an 'index case treatment' group (index case only treated).
Results. At long-term follow-up (mean 62.2 months), there were three re-infected children in the 'index case treatment' group compared with one in the 'family unit treatment' group. The re-infection rate was 2.4% per patient per year in the 'index case treatment' group and 0.7% per patient per year in the 'family unit treatment' group (p = .31).
Conclusions. This study is the first to evaluate the effect of total family unit H. pylori eradication on pediatric re-infection rates and reports the longest period of re-infection follow-up in children. In childhood, re-infection with H. pylori is not significantly reduced by family unit H. pylori eradication.