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Korea’s Helicobacter infections rate steadily declines
  • By Lee Han-soo
  • Published 2018.11.15 16:12
  • Updated 2018.11.15 16:12
  • comments 0

Researchers at Seoul National University Bundang Hospital (SNUBH) have published research that found the decrease of Helicobacter infection rates among Koreans, the hospital said Wednesday.

Professor Kim Na-young (left) and Professor Im Sun-hee

The research also noted that the eradication rate of Helicobacter was increasing.

Helicobacter pylorus is a bacterium that lives in the gastric mucosa and is known to cause gastric diseases such as gastric ulcer, duodenal ulcer and peptic ulcer, gastritis and stomach cancer.

The World Health Organization (WHO) classified it as a first-level carcinogen in 1994, while the International Institute for Cancer (IARC) has also defined it as a biological carcinogen.

Fortunately, infection rates for Helicobacter pylori are declining globally, thanks to industry development, nuclear families and the increase in awareness of cleanliness.

According to national research conducted in 2011, although there was a slight difference in the pattern of change by region Korea is also seeing a drop in Helicobacter infection rates.

To better understand the current state and pattern of infection rate and regional infection rate of Helicobacter pylori in public health the research team, led by Professor Kim Na-young at the hospital and Professor Im Sun-hee of the Seoul National University Gangnam Center, designed a new study.

The team analyzed the current status and infection rate of Helicobacter pylori infection among 23,770 people aged 16 years and older who visited 10 national university hospitals and health check-up centers from January 2016 to June 2017.

As a result, the team found that 43.9 percent of the 16,885 patients, who had no gastrointestinal disease, symptom or bacteremia, had Helicobacter pylori positive.

This is a 23 percent decrease from the national research conducted in 1998, and is consistent with the 59.6 percent in 2005 and 54.4 percent in 2011, indicating that Helicobacter infections continue to decline.

By region, the prevalence of Helicobacter pylori in most areas except Gyeongsang provinces, Jeolla provinces, and Jeju Island was below 50 percent, while the team found that the Helicobacter pylori positivity decreased nationwide, including the three provinces.

Also, the rate of eradication treatment for Helicobacter pylori was 23.5 percent, which is 10 percent higher compared to the rate accumulated in 2005.

“In advanced countries such as the U.S. and Northern Europe, infection rates for Helicobacter pylori are reported to be less than 30 percent,” Professor Kim said. “The study showed that although the rate of Helicobacter pylori domestic infection is 43.9 percent which is somewhat higher than that of advanced countries, it is continuously decreasing.”

The hospital believes the eradication process will accelerate due to the improvement of awareness through patient education and media presence, she added.


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