Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 62, Issue 9, pp 2472–2480 | Cite as

Is There a Link Between H. Pylori and the Epidemiology of Crohn’s Disease?

  • Ayesha Shah
  • Nicholas J. Talley
  • Marjorie Walker
  • Natasha Koloski
  • Mark Morrison
  • Daniel Burger
  • Jane M. Andrews
  • Michael McGuckin
  • Mike Jones
  • Gerald Holtmann
Original Article



Case control studies suggest an inverse association between Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) and Crohn’s disease (CD). It is possible this could be accounted for by confounders such as antibiotic therapy. Analyzing the geographic distribution of H. pylori and the links with the incidence and prevalence of CD would be an alternative approach to circumvent these confounders.


The literature was searched for studies published between 1990 and 2016 that reported incidence or prevalence data for CD in random population samples in developed countries (GDP per capita >20,000 USD/year). Corresponding prevalence studies for H. pylori in these same regions were then sought matched to the same time period (±6 years). The association between the incidence and prevalence of CD and H. pylori prevalence rates were assessed before and after adjusting for GDP and life expectancy.


A total of 19 CD prevalence and 22 CD incidence studies from 10 European countries, Japan, USA, and Australia with date-matched H. pylori prevalence data were identified. The mean H. pylori prevalence rate was 43.4% (range 15.5–85%), and the mean rates for incidence and prevalence for CD were 6.9 and 91.0/100,000 respectively. The incidence (r = −0.469, p < 0.03) and prevalence (r = −0.527, p = 0.02) of CD was inversely and significantly associated with prevalence of H. pylori infection.


Our data demonstrate a significant inverse association between geographic distribution of H. pylori and CD. Thus, it is highly unlikely that the findings of previous case control studies were simply due to confounding factors such as concomitant antibiotic use in CD patients.


H. pylori prevalence Crohn’s disease Incidence and prevalence Gastrointestinal infection Hygiene hypothesis Developed countries 



The authors acknowledge Associate Professor Linda Fletcher for her the review of the manuscript.

Author’s contribution

GH was involved in study idea, concept and design, analysis and interpretation of data, drafting of the manuscript, and critical revision of the manuscript. AS was involved in study concept and design, data extraction and interpretation of data, drafting of the manuscript. NJT was involved in study concept and interpretation of data and drafting of the manuscript. MW, NK, and DB interpreted the data and drafted the manuscript. JMA, MM, and MM interpreted the data and revised the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest


Supplementary material

10620_2017_4496_MOESM1_ESM.docx (23 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 22 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ayesha Shah
    • 1
  • Nicholas J. Talley
    • 2
  • Marjorie Walker
    • 2
  • Natasha Koloski
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mark Morrison
    • 3
  • Daniel Burger
    • 1
  • Jane M. Andrews
    • 4
  • Michael McGuckin
    • 5
  • Mike Jones
    • 6
  • Gerald Holtmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences, Translational Research InstituteUniversity of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Faculty of Health and MedicineUniversity of NewcastleNewcastleAustralia
  3. 3.Microbial Biology and Metagenomics, Diamantina InstituteUniversity of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  4. 4.Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Royal Adelaide HospitalUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  5. 5.Mater Medical Research Institute, Translational Research InstituteUniversity of QueenslandWoolloongabbaAustralia
  6. 6.Department of PsychologyMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia

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