The Helicobacter Foundation


Is it possible to transmit the bacteria from one spouse to another through sharing the same food? If my H. pylori infection is successfully eradicated, but my spouse's isn't, will I be likely to get it back again?

Investigators in Australia have shown that Chinese families have increased levels of H. pylori when they share a common bowl for a traditional Chinese meal. This does not prove it, but does suggest that H. pylori can be transmitted from the mouth of one person to the mouth of another through chopsticks. I am sceptical however, and think that it is probably just socioeconomic or ethnic association with H. pylori infection that causes this observation. Some doctors have seen H. pylori in the mouth in dental plaque, but his has not been universally described. Spouses probably do transmit H. pylori from one to the other, but this is not usually important in our patients. After being married for several years, spouses are either immune to the H. pylori or already infected. In the United States about 50% of our H. pylori patients have an infected spouse. After one spouse is treated, another spouse with no symptoms need not be treated unless obvious re-infection of the treated patient occurs (re-infection is rare).


Has a sudden exposure to high country altitudes (difference in air pressure) been known to trigger H. pylori infection?



Do the numbers of H. pylori increase in response to an increase in citric acid consumption?



How are ulcers transmitted?

We do not know how H. pylori is transmitted, probably orally (for example kissing or touching oral secretions, vomitus etc in childhood can spread the infection). Alternatively, in developing countries the infection is spread by faecal contamination of the water supply, but even this is not proven in every case. Therefore ulcers are transmitted the same way as H. pylori.

It may take many years before an ulcer develops, however many patients with H. pylori never have any symptoms or ulcers.


Is developing a H. pylori infection hereditary?

H. pylori does run in families. About half of the infections are hereditary and the other half are acquired from the environment during childhood.


Have Helicobacter heilmanni colonisation been found in human laryngeal mucosa or the cricopharyngeal muscles?



Is it possible to test positive for H. pylori after receiving one infusion of Venoglobulin 10% (5g)?

It is possible to test positive for H. pylori after receiving gammaglobulin or blood transfusion.


Can you get H. pylori from blood transfusion?

No. You cannot get H. pylori from a blood transfusion, but a blood serology antibody test could read positive if you have received a transfusion of whole blood or plasma from a patient with H. pylori.


Is there any information regarding the epidemiology of the disease, especially cases in Mexico or other developing countries?

Some references

  1. Anonymous. Proceedings of the 2nd International Workshop on Helicobacter pylori Infections in the Developing World. Lima, Peru, 28-31 January 1996. Clinical.Infectious.Diseases. 1997; 25: 9712043.
  2. Banatvala N, Clements L, Abdi Y, Graham JY, Hardie JM, Feldman RA. Migration and Helicobacter pylori seroprevalence: Bangladeshi migrants in the U.K. Journal.of.Infection 1995; 31: 133235.
  3. Bardhan PK. Epidemiological features of Helicobacter pylori infection in developing countries. [Review] [53 refs]. Clinical.Infectious.Diseases. 1997; 25: 973-978.
  4. Bell GD, Powell KU. Helicobacter pylori reinfection after apparent eradication--the Ipswich experience. Scandinavian.Journal.of.Gastroenterology -.Supplement. 1996; 215: 96204.
  5. Blaser MJ. Epidemiology and pathophysiology of Campylobacter pylori infections. Rev.Infect.Dis. 1990; 12: S99206.
  6. Bodhidatta L, Hoge CW, Churnratanakul S, et al. Diagnosis of Helicobacter pylori infection in a developing country: comparison of two ELISAs and a seroprevalence study. J.Infect.Dis. 1993; 168: 15492553.
  7. Crespi M, Citarda F. Helicobacter pylori and gastric cancer: what is the real risk? [see comments]. [Review] [31 refs]. Gastroenterologist. 1998; 6: 16-20.
  8. Dominguez-Bello MG, Michelangeli F, Romero R, et al. Modification of Christensen urease test as an inexpensive tool for detection of Helicobacter pylori. Diagnostic.Microbiology.&.Infectious.Disease. 1997; 28: 149252.
  9. Dore SP, Krupadas S, Borgonha S, Kurpad AV. The 13C urea breath test to assess Helicobacter pylori infection in school children. National.Medical.Journal.of.India. 1997; 10: 57-60.
  10. Graham DY, Adam E, Reddy GT, et al. Seroepidemiology of Helicobacter pylori infection in India Comparison of developing and developed countries. Dig.Dis.Sci. 1991; 36: 10842088.
  11. Guisset M, Coton T, Rey P, Debonne JM. [Helicobacter pylori infection in developing countries]. [Review] [26 refs] [French]. Medecine.Tropicale. 1997; 57: 77-82.
  12. Hardikar W, Grimwood K. Prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection in asymptomatic children. Journal.of.Paediatrics.&.Child Health 1995; 31: 537-541.
  13. Hayashi T, Tamura T. [Epidemiological studies and mode of transmission of Helicobacter pylori infection]. Nippon.Rinsho. 1993; 51: 3114-3119.
  14. Hayashi T, Tamura T. [Epidemiological studies and mode of transmission of Helicobacter pylori infection]. [Review] [Japanese]. Nippon Rinsho - Japanese Journal of Clinical Medicine 1993; 51: 3114-3119.
  15. Hill M. The microbiology of Helicobacter pylori. Biomedicine.&.Pharmacotherapy. 1997; 51: 161263.
  16. Lindkvist P, Asrat D, Nilsson I, et al. Age at acquisition of Helicobacter pylori infection: comparison of a high and a low prevalence country. Scandinavian.Journal.of.Infectious.Diseases. 1996; 28: 181284.
  17. Mahalanabis D, Rahman MM, Sarker SA, et al. Helicobacter pylori infection in the young in Bangladesh: prevalence, socioeconomic and nutritional aspects. International.Journal.of.Epidemiology. 1996; 25: 894-898.
  18. Matysiak-Budnik T, Megraud F. Epidemiology of Helicobacter pylori infection with special reference to professional risk. [Review] [55 refs]. Journal.of.Physiology.&.Pharmacology 1997; 48 Suppl 4: 327.
  19. Mendall MA. Transmission of Helicobacter pylori. [Review] [101 refs]. Gastrointestinal.Disease. 1997; 8: 113223.
  20. Odera G, Cadranel S. Paediatric Helicobacter pylori. Current Opinion in Gastroenterology 1995; 11: 42-46.
  21. Perez Perez GI, Taylor DN, Bodhidatta L, et al. Seroprevalence of Helicobacter pylori infections in Thailand. J.Infect.Dis. 1990; 161: 12372241.
  22. Pisani P, Parkin DM, Munoz N, Ferlay J. Cancer and infection: estimates of the attributable fraction in 1990. [Review] [157 refs]. Cancer Epidemiology,.Biomarkers.&.Prevention. 1997; 6: 387-400.
  23. Potasman I, Yitzhak A. Helicobacter pylori serostatus in backpackers following travel to tropical countries. American.Journal.of.Tropical.Medicine &.Hygiene. 1998; 58: 305-308.
  24. Rodrigo Saez L, Riestra Menendez S, Fernandez Rodriguez E, Fernandez Velazquez MR, Garcia Alonso S, Lauret Brana ME. Epidemiological study of the prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection in the general population in Asturias, Spain. 1997; 89: 511-522.
  25. Rollan A. [Eradication of Helicobacter pylori in developing countries]. [Review] [61 refs] [Spanish]. 1997; 125: 939-949.
  26. Taylor DN, Blaser MJ. The epidemiology of Helicobacter pylori infection. Epidemiol.Rev. 1991; 13: 42-59.
  27. Thorburn C, Rodriguez L, Parsonnet J. Epidemiology of gastric non-Hodgkin's lymphoma patients: parallels with Helicobacter pylori. [Review] [21 refs]. Helicobacter. 1996; 1: 75-78.
  28. van der Ende A, van Der Hulst RW, Dankert J, Tytgat GN. Reinfection versus recrudescence in Helicobacter pylori infection. [Review] [68 refs]. Alimentary.Pharmacology &.Therapeutics. 1997; 11 Suppl 1: 55-61.
  29. Xia HH, Talley NJ. Natural acquisition and spontaneous elimination of Helicobacter pylori infection: clinical implications. [Review] [106 refs]. American.Journal.of.Gastroenterology 1997; 92: 17802787.


My dog has just been diagnosed as having Helicobacter infection. Is this transferable to humans or vice versa? Is it likely he got the bacteria through his mother? What are some causes? After the medication regime, is it likely to reappear?

Dogs transmit Helicobacter to their puppies during the first few weeks of life. Thus most dogs are infected with the "dog Helicobacter" which is called is Helicobacter canis. This type of Helicobacter can affect humans and about one percent of cases of human gastritis are from the dog (cat) Helicobacter. Treatment is the same as the human Helicobacter and the germ can easily be eradicated in most cases.


My 7 year old child was diagnosed with H. pylori - will this be something he will have to worry about recurring for the rest of his life?

No. In developed countries (ie. United States, Australia, etc) it is unusual to catch H. pylori again.

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