The occupational risk of Helicobacter pylori infection: a systematic review

  • Hassan Kheyre
  • Samantha Morais
  • Ana Ferro
  • Ana Rute Costa
  • Pedro Norton
  • Nuno Lunet
  • Bárbara PeleteiroEmail author



The aim of this systematic review was to describe the prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection in specific occupational groups and to compare them with the general population.


We searched PubMed® to identify original studies reporting the prevalence of H. pylori infection in occupational groups. The differences between occupational groups and the general population were analyzed taking into account the direction and statistical significance of the differences observed when comparing each occupational group with a reference group (either recruited in the same study or using an external comparator).


A total of 98 studies addressing the prevalence of H. pylori infection in occupational groups were included in the systematic review. Overall, health professionals showed a significantly higher prevalence of H. pylori infection than the general population, especially among those working at gastrointestinal units. Similar results were found in subjects involved in agricultural, forestry and fishery, as well as in sewage workers, miners, and workers at institutions for the intellectually disabled, although differences were less pronounced.


Our results show an occupational risk of H. pylori infection supporting the role of oral–oral, fecal–oral, and zoonotic transmission. Studies comparing specific occupational groups with adequate comparators may contribute to better identify groups at higher risk of infection. The recognition of this infection as an occupational disease would result in early detection and treatment, as well as prevention and control of its transmission in workplaces.


Helicobacter pylori Prevalence Occupations Systematic review 



This study was funded by FEDER through the Operational Programme Competitiveness and Internationalization and national funding from the Foundation for Science and Technology—FCT (Portuguese Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education), under the Unidade de Investigação em Epidemiologia—Instituto de Saúde Pública da Universidade do Porto (EPIUnit) (POCI-01-0145-FEDER-006862; Ref. UID/DTP/04750/2013). Individual PhD Grants attributed to AF (PD/BD/105823/2014), ARC (SFRH/BD/102181/2014) and SM (SFRH/BD/102585/2014), and a Post-Doc Grant attributed to BP (SFRH/BPD/108751/2015) were funded by FCT and the “Programa Operacional Capital Humano” (POCH/FSE).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PDF 369 KB)
420_2018_1315_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (171 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (PDF 171 KB)


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.EPIUnit, Instituto de Saúde PúblicaUniversidade do PortoPortoPortugal
  2. 2.Unidade de Saúde Ocupacional, Centro de Epidemiologia HospitalarCentro Hospitalar de São JoãoPortoPortugal
  3. 3.Departamento de Ciências da Saúde Pública e Forenses e Educação Médica, Faculdade de MedicinaUniversidade do PortoPortoPortugal

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