Potential transmission sources of Helicobacter pylori infection: detection of H. pylori in various environmental samples

  • Marzieh Farhadkhani
  • Mahnaz Nikaeen
  • Akbar Hassanzadeh
  • Bahram Nikmanesh
Research Article



Helicobacter pylori is one of the most common human infectious agents which may be transmitted via water. This study was designed to test H. pylori presence via molecular methods in various aquatic environments as well as sewage sludge (SS) to understand the role of these environments in the pathogen’s transmission.


specific primers for the 16S rRNA and ureA genes of H. pylori were used in a nested and semi-nested PCR, respectively. Detection sensitivity of H. pylori in environmental samples by semi-nested PCR was also compared with real-time PCR. Analysis of fecal coliforms (FC) as pollution indicator bacteria was also performed.


H. pylori 16S rRNA gene was detected in 36% (14/39) of wastewater samples and 8% (2/25) of water samples, while amplification of ureA gene yielded only two positive results. None of the SS samples were positive for H. pylori and real-time PCR could not identify H. pylori in any of the samples. The results showed no correlation between the presence of H. pylori and FC.


Our result revealed the widespread presence of H. pylori in wastewater samples which indicates wastewater may be a source for dissemination and transmission of H. pylori infection. Further research is needed to determine the risk of H. pylori in wastewater reuse for irrigation of crops.


Helicobacter pylori Water Wastewater Sludge PCR 



This research was conducted with funding from the vice chancellery for research of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences (Research Project #194040).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Student Research Committee, School of HealthIsfahan University of Medical SciencesIsfahanIran
  2. 2.Department of Environmental Health Engineering, School of HealthIsfahan University of Medical SciencesIsfahanIran
  3. 3.Department of Statistics and Epidemiology, School of HealthIsfahan University of Medical SciencesIsfahanIran
  4. 4.Department of Laboratory Medical Sciences, School of Allied Medical SciencesTehran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran

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