How common is H. Pylori? Interesting stats & infographics (USA, UK, Canada, & others)
MD, Assistant lecturer of internal medicine, Gastro-enterology, & Hepatology.
IBS sufferer, Gut health enthusiast, and writer.
Your health matters, my content is not a substitute for the medical advice by your doctor. #Stay_Safe
Quick insights from the article:
- H. pylori infection is the most common bacterial infection worldwide.
- It is estimated that H. pylori infection affects two-thirds of the world population.
- H. Pylori is more common in developing countries.
- H. pylori infection is usually more common among the older ages.
- H. Pylori is more common in certain races (e.g Hispanics and blacks).
- About 36% to 47% of gastric cancer is solely attributed to H. pylori.
Read our interesting stats and info-graphics below to get a picture of how common is H. pylori.
1- How common are H pylori worldwide?
H. Pylori is very common. It is considered the most common bacterial infection worldwide. The most conservative estimates suggest that half of the world population (50%) have H Pylori infection.
The most widely accepted estimates suggest that about two-thirds of the world population have H. Pylori infection .
Studies suggest that H. pylori are more common in developing countries than in developed countries. Some developing countries have a prevalence of H. Pylori infection more than 90%.
The reason why H. Pylori is more common in developing countries may be related to:
- More incidence of contamination of food or water with H. pylori.
- Poor living conditions such as crowded homes and transportation.
- Poor Hygenic lifestyle (the suggested mode of transmission of H. Pylori is a fecal-oral route).
H. pylori infection is usually acquired during your childhood. and as you grow older, the odds of getting H. pylori infection. the image below clearly illustrates the difference between developing and developed countries regarding how common is H. pylori in children.
Risk factors of Getting H. pylori infection:
1- Poor Living conditions: H. Pylori infection is more common in developing countries and in Poor communities in developed countries.
2- Living with infected family members: if you have an infected person (wife, son, …etc) living with you at the same house, it will raise the odds of getting H. Pylori infection.
3- Race: there is a piece of evidence that your race may play a role in getting H. Pylori infection. For example, H. Pylori is far more common in African Americans than in whites. And this cannot be explained only by socio-economic factors. .
2- How common is H pylori in the USA?
Pylori is common in the USA, it is estimated that more than 35.6% of people in the USA are infected with H. Pylori. This percentage means that more than 114 Million U.S citizens are infected with H. Pylori.
But take into consideration that your age and race may play a role.
H. Pylori prevalence by age in the USA:
Regarding the age, H. Pylori is uncommon among US children and its incidence increases with age:
- Below the age of 10 years old: rarely detected.
- From 18 to 30 years old: H. Pylori’s prevalence is about 15%.
- Above the age of 60 years: the prevalence reaches 50%.
H. Pylori prevalence by race in the USA:
The H. pylori prevalence is different greatly between different races living in the USA. this difference cannot be explained only by the socio-economic status. As genetic susceptibility may play a role.
- H. Pylori prevalence in whites: 20%
- H. Pylori prevalence in African Americans:54%.
- H. Pylori in Hispanics: 60%.
3- How common is H. Pylori is other countries: UK, Canada, India, & others.
- Pylori is common in Canada. It is slightly more common than in the USA. representing about 38% of the total population. This percentage is translated into more than 13 millions of the Canadian population are infected with H. pylori.
In the U.K, the prevalence is not different. About 35.5% of the U.K citizens are infected with H. Pylori. H. pylori-infected people are about 23 Million U.K residents.
The below table shows how common is H. Pylori in selected countries:
How H. Pylori is common (% of the total population)
How H. pylori are common (in millions) [*]
|8- south Korea||54%||13.6M|
|15- south Africa||77.6%||42.3M|
[*] Estimated Number of H. Pylori infected people is based on the United Nation world population 2015.
to give you an idea, the image below shows a world map of H. pylori prevalence in different countries.
4- How common is H. Pylori infection after its eradication ?
If your H. Pylori bacteria is already eradicated with medications, it is unusual to be reinfected. In adults, re-infection with H. pylori is less than 2% per year. .
Pylori recurrence after eradication is less likely to occur if you live in areas with less H. Pylori prevalence. And it is also related to personal hygiene and habits.
5- How common are H. pylori symptoms and complications?
Once acquired, H. Pylori infection usually persists, and may or may not produce symptoms or disease. The acute infection of h Pylori usually passes unnoticed or produces mild symptoms in the majority of cases.
H. pylori primarily may cause inflammation of your stomach and duodenal wall. Also, it is associated with many gastrointestinal and extra-intestinal manifestations and complications as:
- Acute and chronic gastritis.
- Stomach or duodenal cancers.
- Stomach cancer.
- Emerging evidence that H. Pylori is related to many extra-gastroduodenal diseases such as diabetes mellitus, Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura, and others.
There is no definite number shows the percentage of symptomatic individuals out of the total infected population. How ever, association with gastro-intestinal malignancy is very clear.
Approximately 36% of all gastric cancers in developed countries are solely attributable to H. pylori infection. The number is much more in developing countries reaching 47%. H. pylori alone are responsible for about 350,000 cases of gastric cancers worldwide every year. .
You should note that H. pylori are not the only cause of gastric cancer. Many other genetic, dietary and environmental factors play a role in developing gastric cancer.
And high H. pylori prevalence in certain countries or localities doesn’t mean that these countries have the highest rates of gastric cancers.
Our message to you is not to panic if you are infected with H. pylori. And always discuss the issue with your doctor.