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Research Article Open Access
Background and Aims: Helicobacter pylori infection is one of the most common gastrointestinal infections in humans; it affects about 30% of people in developed countries and about 80% in developing ones. The majority of patients acquire the infection during childhood and the intrafamilial transmission is considered one of the most important routes of infection. The aim of this study was to assess the intrafamilial transmission rate among family members of index subjects. Methods: We have suggested all patients H. pylori-positive (99 patients, symptomatic index subjects) diagnosed during 18 months (Sep 2011-Dec 2012) to screen their family members by stool antigen test (SAT) and, when positive, to perform upper gastrointestinal endoscopy. Results: Through SAT we identified 126 patients belonging to 41 households of 99 initial index subjects, therefore 41 index subjects (41.4%) had at least one family member affected. The entire population studied included 225 H. pylori-positive patients: 99 index subjects (symptomatic) and 126 family members diagnosed by SAT screening and histological examination by gastroscopy. Of these, 103 patients (81.7%) were considered slightly symptomatic (mild clinical history until then not important enough to perform further diagnostic study) and 23 patients (18.3%) were totally asymptomatic. Conclusions: In the spread of H. pylori infection, the intrafamilial transmission is an important route of contamination; besides the known mother-to-child dyad, also the transmission among family members plays a considerable role and it should be always verified.
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Author(s): Marco Manfredi, Silvia Iuliano, Pierpacifico Gismondi, Barbara Bizzarri, Federica Gaiani, Alessia Ghiselliand Gian Luigi de’Angelis