Helicobacter pylori infection may undergo spontaneous eradication in children: A 2-year follow-up study

Francesco Perri, Maria Pastore, Rocco Clemente, Virginia Festa, Michele Quitadamo, Grazia Niro, Pasquale Conoscitore, Paul Rutgeerts, Angelo Andriulli

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Background: Helicobacter pylori infection is generally acquired early in life. However, it is still unknown whether a spontaneous eradication can occur. The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether H. pylori infection can undergo spontaneous eradication in children. Methods: Three hundred and four Italian children (age range, 4.5 to 18.5 years) were tested for H. pylori by means of 13C-urea breath test. Infected children were followed up every 6 months for as long as 2 years. Parents were instructed to record consumption of antibiotics. At each visit, children underwent a repeat 13C- urea breath test. Results: Eighty-five out of 304 (27.9%) children were H. pylori infected. Forty-eight out of 85 infected children (56.4%) participated in the follow-up study. After 2 years, 8 (16.6%) infected children had negative results on 13C-urea breath tests; 2 of them were given antibiotics for concomitant infections. One child was negative at 6 months but became positive again at the next 6-month 13C-urea breath test. Forty children remained persistently positive; of them, 10 were treated with a short course of antibiotics. Conclusions: Our findings support the hypothesis that, at least during childhood, H. pylori infection may be a fluctuating disease with spontaneous eradication and possible recurrence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-183
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1998


  • Breath test
  • Children
  • Eradication
  • Gastritis
  • Helicobacter pylori
  • Urea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology
  • Histology
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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