Helicobacter pylori as an occupational hazard in the endoscopy room

T Du Toit, O C Buchel, S J A Smit


Background: It remains controversial whether or not healthcare workers on upper gastrointestinal endoscopy teams are at risk of Helicobacter pylori infection. An association between occupational exposure and an increased risk of infection has been shown in a number of studies, while such a risk was not confirmed in others. None of these studies were conducted in Africa.

Method: We performed a cross-sectional study to determine the prevalence of H. pylori infection in endoscopy personnel versus that in a control group of other healthcare workers.

Results: Ninety-two participants were included in the study. Thirty-two (55%) in the control group tested positive for H. pylori. Twenty participants (59%) in the combined endoscopy groups (34 in total) tested seropositive for H. pylori. The seropositive rate was highest in those more frequently involved with endoscopies in the endoscopy groups. None of these differences were statistically significant.

Conclusion: An H. pylori infection rate, similar to the national prevalence rate, estimated to be 51–71%, was displayed in both the study and control groups. We were unable to confirm that endoscopy was a risk factor for endoscopy teams with regard to contracting H. pylori.

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South African Journal of Surgery | Online ISSN: 2078-5151 | Print ISSN: 0038-2361 | Medpharm Publications

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