Role of food in environmental transmission of Helicobacter pylori.
Sommaire de l'article
Helicobacter pylori (H.pylori) is a gram-negative bacterium that has infected more than half of the world's population. This pathogen colonizes the human gastric mucosa and is usually acquired during childhood. It is an important cause of peptic ulcers, chronic gastritis and stomach cancer. Among the risk factors for acquisition of H. pylori infection, poor socioeconomic status, poor sanitization and hygiene practices, and contaminated food and water, are the most significant ones. The main route of H. pylori transmission is still unknown. Studies show that H.pylori bacteria can spread directly from one person to the other, or indirectly from an infected person to the environment. Person to person transmission is divided into fecal-oral, gastric-oral, oral-oral, sexual routes. Presently, interpersonal pathways are more acceptable than environmental exposure routes. Literatures indicate the presence and survival of H. pylori in food samples, such as milk, vegetables and meat, and suggest these foods may play an important role in the environmental transmission of this pathogen. In addition, other studies report the presence of H. pylori in the gastric tissue of some animals (e.g. sheep and cow) and therefore, it is likely they participate in the food chain transmission as reservoirs besides human. Although there are findings which indicate the probable role of food products in the environmental transmission of H. pylori, there is still not enough direct evidence to confirm this and more studies are needed. However, attention to food contamination sources (unhygienic water) and controlling them may prevent transmission of pathogens associated with health.