Helicobacter pylori Prevalence by Urea Breath Test in a Southwestern Nigerian Population

Abiodun Christopher Jemilohun, Mustapha Akanji Ajani, Taamaka Davis Ngubor


Background: There is no ambiguity about the fact that Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is strongly associated with several upper gastrointestinal conditions including gastric cancer which manifest clinically as dyspepsia. Nigeria is believed to have one of highest prevalence of H. pylori globallybut the prevalence obtained from different Nigerian studies varies widely (35.7% to 94.5%) depending on the diagnostic method utilized. We observed that few studies have utilized the urea breath test, considered to be the gold standard noninvasive test, to determine the prevalence rate of the infection among Nigerians. Considering the role H. pylori infection plays in the etiopathogenesis of dyspepsia and the reliability of the urea breath test, it is desirable that more prevalence studies are conducted with the test in Nigeria.

Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study conducted at the Gastroenterology Unit of Babcock University Teaching Hospital, (BUTH), Ilisan-Remo, Nigeria. The study population consisted of male and female dyspeptic aged 18 and above referred to the unit for urea breath test from February 2015 to December 2018. Patients’ demographic information and H. pylori status were extracted from the test logbook and analyzed with IBM-SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 22.0. Armonk, NY: IBM Corp.

Results: A total of 203 patients who had pre-eradication test within the period considered were included. The mean age was 44.6 (±16.4) while the age range was 18- 83 years. Eighty-two (40.4%) were males while 121 (59.6%) were females. A total of 106 (52.2%) tested positive for H. pylori among all the subjects. There was no significant age-related difference in the prevalence (P= 0.333). The female gender was observed to have a higher prevalence (56.2%) than the male gender (46.3%) but the difference was not statistically significant (P = 0.198).

Conclusion: The prevalence rate of H. pylori infection in Nigeria is high but the prevalence rate varies widely from one study to another depending on the diagnostic method used. A nationwide population-based study utilizing a user-friendly and reliable diagnostic method like the urea breath test is highly desirable.


Helicobacter pylori; Dyspesia; Peptic ulcer disease; Gastric cancer


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