International Journal of Circumpolar Health (Aug 2013)

Helicobacter pylori incidence and re-infection in the Aklavik H. pylori Project

  • Sally Carraher,
  • Hsiu-Ju Chang,
  • Rachel Munday,
  • Karen J. Goodman,
  • the CANHelp Working Group

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 72, no. 0
pp. 1 – 7


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Background . The Aklavik H. pylori Project (AHPP) ( is a community-driven project examining Helicobacter pylori infection and its influence on health in a diverse Aboriginal community in the Northwest Territories. Initial research revealed that 58% of 333 participants who underwent a urea breath test (UBT) between 2007 and 2010 were H. pylori-positive. From 2008 to 2010, we offered treatment to H. pylori-positive participants and 113 consented to this treatment. Objective . We estimated H. pylori incidence in AHPP participants who initially tested negative and the re-infection frequency in initially positive participants who were successfully treated to clear the infection. Methods . Participants who were initially H. pylori-negative or negative after treatment during 2008–2010 were eligible for inclusion. From November 2011 to June 2012, participants were offered a UBT and the samples were analyzed using infrared spectroscopy (IRIS). Participants with a positive test result were classified as new cases for estimating incidence among participants testing negative at baseline and re-infection among those successfully treated for H. pylori infection. Results. Among 38 initially negative participants, follow-up UBT showed that 33 remained negative, 3 were positive, and 2 had uncertain status. The estimated incidence proportion during the follow-up period was 8.3% (95% CI: 1.8–22.0%). Among 43 participants with a negative post-treatment UBT, 41 remained negative and 2 were positive. The estimated re-infection proportion during the follow-up period was 4.7% (95% CI: 0.6–16.0%). The frequency of new cases was similar in males and females. Aboriginal participants had a combined re-infection/incidence rate of 2.4% per year (95% CI: 0.8–5.9% per year). All 9 non-Aboriginal participants remained free from infection throughout the study period, as did all 23 participants aged 55 years and above. Conclusions . The AHPP has substantially reduced the burden of infection in Aklavik since 2008. Continued monitoring, treatment, community engagement and knowledge translation activities are needed to ensure a lasting benefit of the project.