Why guidelines are required for the treatment of Helicobacter pylori infection in children.
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Helicobacter pylori is firmly established as a human pathogen; it fulfils all of Koch's postulates as the infectious agent causing chronic, active (type B) gastritis. Infection is strongly associated with duodenal and gastric ulcer. Recently, gastric mucosal-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma has been successfully treated by curing H. pylori infection. Because of the evidence that the organism causes chronic gastritis and an increased risk of gastric cancer, it has been classified as a category 1 carcinogen by the World Health Organization. However, the overwhelming majority of people infected have no symptoms. Current eradication therapy is not ideal; there are treatment failures and substantial side effects. As a result, therapy should be reserved for people with clinical symptoms and complications. The infection, if present, should be treated in patients who have endoscopic evidence of mucosal ulcers in the stomach or duodenum. Current evidence does not support treating the infection to prevent gastric carcinogenesis or to alleviate symptoms of abdominal discomfort in the absence of peptic ulcers.
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