You can get H-Pylori from food, water, or utensils. H-Pylori bacteria are passed from person to person through direct contact with saliva, vomit, or fecal matter. Helicobacter pylori (H. Pylori) is a type of bacteria and can enter your body and live in your digestive tract. It can cause sores, called ulcers, in the lining of your stomach or the upper part of your small intestine or even lead to stomach cancer. It is a common disease in low-income societies due to a lack of clean water or good sewage systems in communities. H-Pylori prevalence has increased in Kenya due to:
Crowded Living Conditions.
Many Kenyans in low-income societies live in single rooms and highly overcrowded slum areas. Living in an overcrowded environment with poor sewage management and lack of water is a recipe for H-Pylori infection. The risks of H-Pylori infection if you live in a home with many other people are very high. Overcrowding conditions increase chances for person-to-person transmission through oral-to-oral or fecal-to-oral routes through sharing utensils, bathroom, food on the table, and this pathogen can be transmitted orally through fecal matter by the ingestion of water or food contaminated with waste.
Poor hygienic conditions due to a lack of reliable supply of clean water in the cities and rural areas have resulted in increased H-Pylori infections. In Kenya, less than 30% of the population can get access to clean tap water with the majority relying on community water points such as wells, springs, dams, rivers that are highly contaminated with fecal products from animals and humans. Having a reliable supply of clean, running water helps improve hygiene, hence reducing the risk of H. pylori. Eating food that was not cleaned or cooked safely can result in H-Pylori infection. Drinking contaminated water can cause H-Pylori infection. Poor handwashing practices after going to the bathroom and before eating have contributed to increasing infections among people in the community. The consumption of raw vegetables and fruit on the streets or by the roadside eateries without washing has increased the risk factor for the infection.
Poor Socioeconomic Status
Poor socioeconomic status has led to increased urbanization and overcrowding in the cities, which has led to the lack of reliable water supply and overstretched sewerage systems, resulting in leakages. Poor living conditions in slums and inadequate sanitation conditions have provided a good habitat for H-Pylori spread. Unsanitary living conditions such as no hand and mouth wash before or after meals, sharing of food plates or drinking glasses, sharing of spoons in feeding children, bed-sharing between siblings have increased the risk of H. pylori infection spread
High Number of Infected People
H-Pylori infection is common worldwide. About two-thirds of the world’s population has it in their bodies. High bacterial infections within the households in Kenya have increased the chance for contamination and spread of the disease from person to person. Infection spread can occur when living with someone who has an H-Pylori infection. If you live with a person who has H. pylori infection, you're more likely to also have H-Pylori infection due to contamination that may occur. It is good to separate actively sick persons from the rest, to avoid contamination and infection spread.
Signs and Symptoms
H-Pylori infection signs or symptoms include ache or burning pain in your abdomen, abdominal pain that's worse when your stomach is empty, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, frequent burping, bloating, and unintentional weight loss. Book an appointment with your doctor if you notice any persistent signs and symptoms. H-Pylori is preventable and treatable.