Bacterial Infection Linked to Reduced Childhood Asthma

July 17, 2008

Childhood infection with Helicobacter pylori reduces the likelihood of developing asthma and related illnesses, according to an article published online July 3 in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. A related review in the May issue of Gut discusses the current evidence and possible mechanisms linking H. pylori infection, asthma and allergy.

THURSDAY, July 17 (HealthDay News) -- Childhood infection with Helicobacter pylori reduces the likelihood of developing asthma and related illnesses, according to an article published online July 3 in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. A related review in the May issue of Gut discusses the current evidence and possible mechanisms linking H. pylori infection, asthma and allergy.

Yu Chen, Ph.D., and Martin J. Blaser, M.D., from New York University in New York City, examined the association between H. pylori and childhood asthma using data from 7,412 individuals in the 1999-2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

The researchers found that H. pylori seropositivity was associated with a lower likelihood of ever having had asthma in children aged 3 to 19 years (odds ratio 0.69), a lower likelihood of asthma onset before 5 years of age (OR, 0.58) and a lower likelihood of current asthma in children 3 to 13 years old (OR, 0.41). H. pylori infection was also associated with a lower likelihood of recent wheezing, allergic rhinitis and dermatitis, eczema or rash, the report indicates.

"An inverse association of H. pylori and childhood asthma, allergic rhinitis and atopy is becoming increasingly obvious," Blaser, Chen and another colleague from New York University School of Medicine write in Gut. "It is possible that for most individuals, H. pylori is beneficial in childhood and more deleterious later in life."

Abstract - Journal of Infectious DiseasesFull Text (subscription or payment may be required) Full Text - Gut

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