Some species have been found living in the lining of the upper gastrointestinal tract, as well as the liver of mammals and some birds.. The most widely known species of the genus is H. pylori which infects up to 50% of the human population. Some strains of this bacterium are pathogenic to humans as it is strongly associated with peptic ulcers, chronic gastritis, duodenitis, and stomach cancer. It also serves as the type species of the genus.
Helicobacter spp. are able to thrive in the very acidic mammalian stomach by producing large quantities of the enzyme urease, which locally raises the pH from ~2 to a more biocompatible range of 6 to 7. Bacteria belonging to this genus are usually susceptible to antibiotics such as penicillin, are microaerophilic (require small amounts of oxygen), and are fast-moving with their flagella.
Causes 90% of stomach & duodenal ulcers.
People with type O blood have a 1.5-2X higher rate of ulcers.
Produces large amounts of urease.
Infection common especially in lower socioeconomic class/developing nations.
Humans primary reservoir.
Person-to-person spread via fecal-oral route.
Ubiquitous, no seasonal incidence.
While H. pylori remains the most medically important bacterial inhabitant of the human stomach, other species of the genus Helicobacter have been identified in other mammals and some birds, and some of these can infect humans. Helicobacter species have also been found to infect the livers of certain mammals and to cause liver disease.
H. pylori stool antigen (HpSA) testing is based on monoclonal antibody immunochromatography of stool samples. This testing method identifies active infection and can be used to detect eradication after treatment. A sensitivity and specificity range of 92–98% is reported in the literature for stool antigen testing.
Serological assays (blood serum) measure specific H. pylori immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies that can determine if an individual has been infected. The sensitivity and specificity of these assays range from 80–95%, depending on the assay used. Serological testing has been the mainstay of H. pylori diagnosis, particularly in primary care, due to the accessibility, rapid results and low cost of this testing method.
Urease test, Urease Breath Test (UBT) (positive in as little as 2 hours)
Helicobacter: a hidden factor in cardiovascular, digestive, autoimmune, and skin disorders.(Phytotherapy Review & Commentary)
Feb 01, 2006; Around 20 years ago, a link between bacterial infection and duodenal and stomach ulcers (peptic ulcers) was suggested. The spiral...