Seroepidemiological study of Helicobacter pylori infection in asymptomatic people in South Korea

Jin Ho Kim, Hak Yang Kim, Na Young Kim, Sang Woo Kim, Jae Gyu Kim, Jae Jun Kim, Im Hwan Roe, Jeong Kee Seo, Jae Geon Sim, Hyoengsik Ahn, Byung Chul Yoon, Sang Woo Lee, Yong Chan Lee, In Sik Chung, Hwoon Yong Jung, Weon Seon Hong, Kyoo Wan Choi

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105 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Helicobacter pylori infection occurs throughout the world and causes gastroduodenal diseases in all age groups. The prevalence of H. pylori infection varies between countries and races. The aim of this study was to evaluate the seroprevalence of H. pylori infection in asymptomatic healthy people in South Korea. Methods: From March 1998 to October 1998, 5732 asymptomatic subjects who responded to the self-assessment questionnaires from 54 hospitals in South Korea were enrolled in this study. The serum levels of antibodies for H. pylori immunoglobulinG were measured by using an ELISA test. Results: The overall seroprevalence of H. pylori infection was 46.6% and there was no statistical difference between males (47.2%) and females (45.9%). In adults, a significant difference was observed between genders. According to the geographic areas, the high prevalent provinces were Kangwon (53.4%), Cheju (52.9%) and Cholla province (50.6%); Seoul (41.9%) was the lowest prevalent area. The seroprevalence increased with age and was highest when patients were aged in their 40s (78.5%). The characteristic feature of our study was that the infection rate was steeply increased in three age groups (10-12 year olds, 16-19 year olds and those aged in their 20s). In Seoul, there was no difference in the prevalence rate among the districts studied. Conclusions: This nation-wide seroprevalence of H. pylori infection in South Korea was 46.6%, which showed the transition from a developing country to a developed country. More studies on the epidemiological factors and the route of transmission of H. pylori infection should be warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)969-975
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology (Australia)
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Helicobacter pylori
  • Seroprevalence
  • South Korea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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