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Helicobacter pylori (H pylori) infection in Greece: the changing prevalence during a ten-year period and its antigenic profile

Author(s): Apostolopoulos Periklis | Vafiadis-Zouboulis Irene | Tzivras Michael | Kourtessas Dimitrios | Katsilambros Nicolaos | Archimandritis Athanasios

Journal: BMC Gastroenterology
ISSN 1471-230X

Volume: 2;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 11;
Date: 2002;
Original page

Abstract Background To evaluate changes in H pylori infection prevalence in Greece during a ten-year period, and to examine its antigenic profile. Methods Three groups of patients were studied. Group O-87: Banked serum samples of 200 consecutive adult outpatients, from the Hepato-Gastroenterology clinic of a teaching hospital at Athens, collected in 1987. Group O-97: Serum samples of 201 similarly selected outpatients from the same Unit, collected in 1997. Group BD-97: Serum samples of 120 consecutive blood donors from the same hospital, collected in 1997. H pylori IgG antibody seroprevalence was studied by a quantitative ELISA. Antigenic profile was studied by western-blot IgG assay, in 62 IgG positive patients of O-97 and BD-97. Results were analyzed by conventional statistics and multivariate regression analysis. Results The H pylori seroprevalence increased with age in the three tested groups. In O-97, seroprevalence did not differ from that, in BD-97. On the contrary, there was a significant decrease in seropositivity between O-87 and O-97 (59.5% vs 49.2%, p = 0.039). Multiple regression analysis showed that age over 35 years (OR:3.45, 95% CI:1.59–7.49, p = 0.002) and year of patients' selection – that is 1987 or 1997 – (OR:1.73, 95% CI:1.14–2.65 for 1987, p = 0.010), were independent risk factors of H pylori infection. The seroprevalence of CagA+ and VacA+ strains was 77.4% and 58.5%, respectively, and type I(CagA+/VacA+) strains were significantly more common than type II(CagA-/VacA-) strains (59.7% vs 22.6%, p < 0.001). Conclusions During a ten-year period, we found a significant decrease of H pylori infection in Greece and our data support the birth cohort phenomenon as an explanation for the age-dependent increase of H pylori infection. The prevalence of CagA and/or VacA positive strains is relatively high, in a country with low incidence of gastric cancer.

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