Friday, November 10, 2006

Helicobacter pylori infection in Sewage Workers at Municipal wastewater treatment plants in Belgium

Helicobacter pylori infection in sewage workers at
municipal wastewater treatment plants in Belgium

European Journal of Public Health 2006
Vol. 16, Supplement 1, Page 30

A De Schryver 1,2*, W Van Hooste 1, A-M Charlier 1, P Rotsaert 1, S Bulterys 1, G Moens 1,3, M Van Sprundel 1,2

1 IDEWE Occupational Health Services, Leuven, Belgium
2 Epidemiology and Social Medicine, University of Antwerp, Belgium
3 Department Occupational Medicine, KUL, Leuven, Belgium

*Contact details:

Since in 1983 Warren and Marshall successfully cultured Helicobacter pylori (H.pylori), it has been recognized as a major cause of several gastroduodenal diseases, including gastric and duodenal peptic ulcers, chronic gastritis, atrophic gastritis, gastric adenocarcinoma, and mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) gastric lymphoma. Waterborne H. pylori transmission has been hypothesized, as H. pylori can survive in an aqueous environment and has been detected in wastewater systems. Wastewater treatment may be ineffective in removing H. pylori from this aqueous environment. The increased prevalence of peptic ulcers, gastroscopies, and gastric complaints among wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) workers, and the presence of coccoid forms and DNA of H. pylori in (waste) water formed the impetus for this study of possible H.pylori occupational risk. The hypothesis tested is whether WWTP workers are at risk to be infected by H. pylori in their work.

A seroprevalence study of H. pylori was conducted among a sample of 319 employees of WWTPs. Information about sex, age, job, years of employment, the country of origin, and history of gastrointestinal symptoms was obtained. The presence of H. pylori immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies was investigated with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Referents were 250 employees of a pharmaceutical company.

The prevalence of H. pylori IgG antibodies among sewage workers was 16.7% (95% CI 12.6–20.8), which was not statistically significant difference than that among the control group (13.6%, 95% CI 9.3–17.9). Adjusted odds ratio was 1.02 (0.58–1.80). No association was found between H. pylori seropositive status and gastrointestinal symptoms, occupational exposures in different tasks, or hygienic practices.

The data of this study do not support the concept that H. pylori infection is a probable cause of gastrointestinal symptoms among municipal WWTP workers.

1 comment:

Incostress said...

Interesting article. I was diagnosed with H.Pylori and was prescribed pantoprazole, by my excellent Beglian doctor in Oostende. I have not had any problems since, however we have since moved from Oostende to Wallone and my daughter has started with stomach problems and sometime vomits in the morning for no reason (she is 16 and no is not pregnant) I am concerned she may have H Pylori. Is it contagious?