Objectives: To determine and compare the prevalence of Helicobacter pylori in an urban and a remote rural Western Australian Indigenous community.
Design: Cross-sectional study of Helicobacter pylori status determined by urea breath tests between mid-January 2003 and the end of June 2004.
Participants: 520 self-selected fasting participants, comprising 270 members of the Martu community at Jigalong, Punmu and Parnngurr in the East Pilbara region (129 men, 141 women; age range, 2–90 years) and 250 people from the Perth Indigenous community (96 men, 154 women; age range, 3–75 years.
Results: The overall prevalence of H. pylori was 76%, but the prevalence in the remote rural community was 91%, compared with 60% in the urban community. The odds of having H. pylori were six times greater for rural than for urban participants (odds ratio [OR], 6.34; 95% CI, 3.89–10.33). Further, the overall odds of H. pylori infection in males (rural and urban combined) were greater than for females (OR, 1.61; 95% CI, 1.02–2.54). In both communities, the prevalence of infection remained relatively constant after the age of 10.
Conclusions: The prevalence of H. pylori in the two Indigenous communities was two to three times higher than that in the non-Indigenous Australian population and higher than that shown in previous studies in Indigenous Australians.
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