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Background: helicobacter pylori (hp) infection is mainly acquired during childhood; it is recognised as a cause of gastritis and peptic ulcer and it has been classified as a group A carcinogen by World health organization. the exact mode of transmission is as yet, not known. Aim of our study has been to identify risk factors associated with helicobacter pylori infection in a preschool and school population and to confirm if hp antigen in faeces is useful as screening in epidemiological studies. Methods: We interviewed, with questionnaire, 400 children (203 male; age range 3-10 years; mean age 6 years) of 3 different schools and stool samples were collected of all children too. 35 of 400 (8%) children underwent to upper gastrointestinal endoscopy because of a suspect of upper gastrointestinal disease. Results: stool were collected from 400 school children and 35 of them shown positivity of hp antigen test. A questionnaire about presence of nausea, vomit, recurrent abdominal pain, family size, parent’s occupations and education, use of antibiotics, country of birth of child and parents, personal hygiene, breast feeding, presence of the animals was completed. 35 children with positive hp stool antigen test and a suspicious of upper gastrointestinal disease (recurrent abdominal pain, diurnal or nocturnal abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, iron deficiency) underwent to esophagogastroduodenoscopy (egdS) that demonstrated antral gastritis and positive histology and urease rapid test. Conclusions: the results of this study suggest that risk factors for hp infection are low socioeconomics factors, hygiene and living conditions and that hp antigen in faeces is useful as screening test.
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