Helicobacter pylori is a bacterium that is
a long-term inhabitant of the human stomach, usually persisting for the lifetime
of its host. Individuals who carry H pylori are at
higher risk for developing peptic ulcer disease and noncardiac gastric carcinoma
than those who do not carry the organism.1
Although carriage is neither necessary nor sufficient to explain either disease,
physicians have become increasingly concerned with H pylori since the recognition that eliminating its colonization often changes
the natural history of peptic ulcer disease.2
In many parts of the world, especially in developing countries, the preponderance
of adults carry H pylori.3Helicobacter pylori is acquired early in life; by age 10
years, more than 50% of children worldwide carry this organism.3
Thus, it is important to understand where H pylori,
so common in human ecology, originates.
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