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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 26 (2012), Issue 2, Pages 97-103

Helicobacter pylori in First Nations and Recent Immigrant Populations in Canada

Nicola L Jones,1,2 Naoki Chiba,3,4 Carlo Fallone,5 Alan Thomson,6 Richard Hunt,7 Kevan Jacobson,8 and Karen Goodman9

1Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, The Hospital for Sick Children, Canada
2Departments of Paediatrics and Physiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
3Division of Gastroenterology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada
4Guelph General Hospital, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
5Division of Gastroenterology, McGill University Health Centre, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
6Division of General Internal Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
7Division of Gastroenterology and Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Center, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
8Division of Gastroenterology, British Columbia’s Children’s Hospital and CFRI, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
9Department of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Received 12 May 2011; Accepted 25 June 2011

Copyright © 2012 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The diminishing prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection among most segments of the Canadian population has led to changes in the etiologies and patterns of associated upper gastrointestinal diseases, including fewer peptic ulcers and their complications. Canadian Aboriginals and recent immigrants are among populations in which the prevalence of H pylori infection remains high and, therefore, the health risks imposed by H pylori remain a significant concern. Population-based strategies for H pylori eradication in groups with a low prevalence of infection are unlikely to be cost effective, but such measures are attractive in groups in which the prevalence rates of infection remain substantial. In addition to a lower prevalence of peptic ulcers and dyspepsia, the public health value of eradication may be particularly important if this leads to a reduction in the prevalence of gastric cancer in high prevalence groups. Therefore The Canadian Helicobacter Study Group held a conference that brought together experts in the field to address these issues, the results of which are reviewed in the present article. Canadians with the highest prevalence of H pylori infection are an appropriate focus for considering the health advantages of eradicating persistent infection. In Canadian communities with a high prevalence of both H pylori and gastric cancer, there remains an opportunity to test the hypothesis that H pylori infection is a treatable risk factor for malignancy.