Incidence of Helicobacter felis and the effect of coinfection with Helicobacter pylori on the gastric mucosa in the African population

E. Lekunze Fritz, Tomas Slavik, Wayne Delport, Brenda Olivier, Schalk W. van der Merwe

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Helicobacter pylori and Helicobacter felis are two of the Helicobacter spp. that infect humans. H. pylori has been linked to significant gastric pathology. Coinfection with Helicobacter spp. may influence infectious burden, pathogenesis, and antibiotic resistance; however, this has not been studied. The aims of this study were to identify the incidence of H. felis and to analyze the effects of coinfection with both organisms on gastric pathology in a well-characterized South African population. Biopsy samples from the gastric corpora and antra of volunteers (n = 90) were subjected to histological examination and PCR for the identification of H. pylori and H. felis. We further investigated the effect of global strain type on the occurrence of precursor lesions by assigning nucleotide sequences derived from PCR amplification of three genes to global groupings (ancestral Africa1, ancestral Africa2, ancestral Europe, ancestral Asia, and mixed). H. pylori was detected in 75 (83.3%), H. felis in 23 (25.6%), and coinfection in 21 (23.3%) of the volunteers by PCR. H. felis was randomly distributed among adults and children but clustered within families, suggesting intrafamilial transmission. Analysis of histopathology scores revealed no differences in atrophy, activity, and helicobacter density between H. felis-positive and H. felis-negative volunteers. H. pylori substrains common to southern Africa showed no differences in inflammation or atrophy scores. The incidences of H. felis and coinfection with H. pylori in the African population are high. H. felis infection, however, does not influence specific gastric pathology in this population
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1692-1696
JournalJournal of clinical microbiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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