Rate of Helicobacter pylori Infection in Children and Clonality of Taiwan Strains

Chi Shih Chu, Yu Jen Yu, Man Shan Kong, Jonathan T. Ou*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

3 Scopus citations


The infection rate of Helicobacter pylori in children from <1 to 17 years old was investigated. Three techniques, namely culture, CLO test, and PCR, were employed to check the presence or absence of the organism in the antrum of the stomach. Several PCR positives without viable cultures were observed in babies of less than one year old. On the other hand, only two viable cultures were obtained from toddlers of less than two years old. The percentage of positive cultures steadily increased from 8% (3 of 42 cases) in the 0-4 years old age group to 32% (32 of 99 cases) in the 13-17 years old age group. A steady increase also was observed in the result of the CLO test. In PCR, the percentage of positives was greatly higher than that seen with the culture or CLO test. The rate of PCR positives also showed an increase with age but of a much slower rate. The overall infection rate in 295 children was 22% (64 of 295 cases) positive with culture and 76% (225 of 295 cases) with PCR, in contrast to 85% (40 of 49 cases) and 92% (43 of 47 cases), respectively, in adults. The urease activity of the H. pylori derived from children was much lower than that derived from adults (P<0.001). Taken together, these results suggest that a child might be repeatedly infected and some infecting strains eventually might obtain a steady infection, perhaps by a strain of higher virulence such as higher urease activity. The base variations in the nucleotide sequences did not correlate to the varied urease activities or to the age of the child. The sequences, however, indicated that there were two types of strains. The strains in Taiwan appeared to be derived from the French type strain and not the English type strain. The amino acid sequences of the ureA and the phylogenetic relationship of the 29 strains indicated that the strains in Taiwan are rapidly evolving into a unique clone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)813-821
Number of pages9
JournalMicrobiology and Immunology
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • CLO test
  • Clonality
  • Culture
  • Epidemiology
  • Helicobacter pylori
  • PCR
  • Phylogenetics
  • Urease activity


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