I started on a project early last year. I was seeing a lot of people presenting to my consultation clinic with epigastric pain and these people were labeled with ‘PUD’ but no proper diagnostic work was ever done on these patients. So after discussing with a volunteer doctor from St. Vincent’s hospital in Australia I decided to investigate the prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection in Papua New Guineans.
With assistance from co-investigators in Australia I have found some very interesting results. This work is ongoing and I am hoping to present my findings at the Annual PNG Medical Society Symposium and maybe submit for publication in a medical journal.
So far test for Helicobacter pylori infection has been done in 15 individuals:
- 8 females & 7 males
- Overall positive rate is 53.33%
- Out of 8 females 4 were positive (50% positive rate in females)
- Out of 7 males 4 were positive (57.14% positive rate in males)
- 3 out of 7 individuals from the highlands positive (42.85% positive rate in those from the highlands areas)
- 5 out of 8 individuals from the coastal villages positive (62.5% positive rate in those from coastal villages.
All subjects were from rural areas. Helicobacter pylori infection has been associated with poor hygiene and lower socio-economic status. All subjects tested did not have any symptom suggestion of peptic ulcer disease.
The picture I am getting is that more than 50% of Papua New Guineans in the rural areas may have Helicobacter pylori infection with no symptoms.