Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence and ethnic distribution of Helicobacter pylori
infection in an endoscoped population in North Eastern Peninsular Malaysia. Methods: Pathology records of 400 consecutive gastric biopsies received at the pathology laboratory in a university hospital were reviewed. Demographic data of patients including their ethnic groups were documented. Evidence of gastritis and H. pylori
infection were ascertained by routine histology and Warthin Starry stain. Univariate and multivariate analysis were applied to determine the prevalence of H. pylori
infection in the sampled population and the difference in prevalence among the ethnic groups. Results: The overall H. pylori
infection prevalence rate was unusually low at 13.5% (54 of 400) in this region. The prevalence among the races were as follows: Malay 6.6% (17/256), Chinese 24.1% (27/112) and Indian 28.6% (6/21). Gender and age were not significant associated factors for H. pylori
infection. However there was an increased risk of H. pylori
infection in Chinese (OR= 4.46, 95%CI, 2.3-8.6) and Indians (OR=5.6, 95%CI, 1.9-16.3) compared to Malays. Conclusion: The difference in prevalence of H. pylori
infection between the three major ethnic groups concurs with other studies done in Malaysia. The reason for this interesting finding is uncertain and is suspected to be due to different environmental, genetic and socio-cultural practices in the various races.