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The decline in the incidence ofHelicobacter pylori infection in developed countries1 should lead to a reduction in the burden of associated disease, notably peptic ulceration and gastric cancer. Patterns of H pylori incidence are difficult to demonstrate but can be deduced from prevalence studies.
High prevalence of infection with H pylorihas been reported in eastern European countries,2 where there may be high rates of infection even in younger age groups. This pattern is similar to that in developing countries, suggesting continued high incidence rates. We report below the results of a small study conducted by the University Hospital Centre, Tirana, Albania, in collaboration with Leicester General Hospital, UK.
Serum samples were obtained from a population sample of 120 subjects in six age groups ranging from under 20 years to 70 years. This sample was drawn from mixed rural and urban housing in Albania. Samples were frozen and subsequently tested for immunoglobin G antibodies toH pylori, using the Pyloriset Dry latex agglutination test (Orion Diagnostica). Results overall and by age are shown in the table.
In common with other eastern European countries, Albania was found to have a very high prevalence of H pyloriinfection. Infection was common in all age groups, with no correlation between age and positive status, suggesting that incidence is not declining as in western nations. There may be no decrease in the burden of H pylori-associated disease where incidence rates remain high.
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