What is Helicobacter Pylori (H. pylori) and How to Use the H. pylori Rapid Test Kit?
Affecting around 50% of the world’s population, Helicobacter pylori is responsible for chronic bacterial infections associated with various conditions such as stomach ulcers, gastritis, and gastric cancer. Given its coexistence with and adaptation to human populations for more than 50,000 years, H. pylori is among the most successful pathogens of importance to human health. In addition to being one of the most common human infectious agents worldwide, H. pylori is also one of the few microorganisms that tolerate the harsh acidic conditions of the stomach. Moreover, clinical, epidemiological, and cohort studies in the recent years have identified a strong relationship between H. pylori infection and gastric carcinogenesis. Estimated to be responsible for around 75% of all human gastric cancer cases, H. pylori infection is currently recognized as one of the major etiologic agents leading to the development of intestinal-type and diffuse-type gastric adenocarcinomas around the world. Accordingly, H. pylori was classified as a class 1 carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization (IARC/WHO) in 1994 and became the only species of bacteria to be given this classification. Read along to learn more about H. pylori infection, its symptoms, and how it is checked for with the help of the H. pylori Rapid Test Kit.
What is Helicobacter Pylori (H. pylori)?
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a gram-negative, microaerophilic bacterium. Initially identified by Barry Marshall and Robin Warren in 1982, the bacteria have been named after their helical shape. The only known reservoir of H. pylori is the human stomach, and its transmission may occur through the gastro-oral, oral-oral, and fecal-oral routes via direct contact with the saliva, vomit, or stool of an infected person. H. pylori is a widespread infection that is often acquired in early life and it typically persists lifelong without medical intervention.
Once it enters the host body, H. pylori attacks the inner lining of the stomach. It utilizes its urease activity to neutralize the acidic conditions present in the stomach. With the help of its flagella, the bacterium travels toward the gastric epithelium cells of the host to facilitate colonization. Together with the different toxins released by the bacteria that cause significant host tissue damage, the initiation of innate host immunity result in the development of various clinical diseases including gastritis and ulcer. Infections with H. pylori has also been linked to carcinogenesis in the stomach, esophagus, colon, rectum, and tissues around the eye.
What are the symptoms of infection with Helicobacter Pylori (H. pylori)?
Although H. pylori is among the most common pathogens affecting human populations, the majority of those infected with H. pylori do not experience any symptoms until the infection leads to the development of clinical diseases such as gastritis and peptic ulcers. In symptomatic cases, the infection may present with symptoms such as stomach pain, decreased appetite, belching, nausea, heart burn, sensation of a full stomach, and bleeding gums. If left untreated, the damage to the inner lining of the stomach and the small intestine caused by these conditions may also increase the risk for the development of gastric cancers.
Which testing options are available for infection with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)?
In suspected individuals, Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infections can be detected with the help of various diagnostic methods such as breath tests, blood tests, stool tests, and biopsies. These methods allow medical professionals to determine the presence of a H. pylori infection in the digestive tract, to check if the digestive symptoms of the patient may be caused by an H. pylori infection or see whether a certain treatment has been effective against a detected H. pylori infection. The breath test require the patient to swallow a substance containing urea. If the tested patient is infected by H. pylori, the bacteria convert the urea to carbon dioxide. Accordingly, the test detects and records the level of carbon dioxide in the exhaled breath of the patient. The blood tests often detect the antibodies produced in response to an infection with H. pylori. However, blood tests have largely been replaced by stool tests, which instead detect H. pylori-specific antigens. If the results of these tests prove inconclusive, getting a gastroscopy may also be suggested.
How to Use the H. pylori Rapid Test Kit?
Coming in the user-friendly lateral flow assay format, the H. pylori Rapid Test Kit is a chromatographic immunoassay intended for the in vitro qualitative detection of antigens specific to H. pylori in human fecal specimens to assist the diagnosis of H. pylori infection. The procedure requires the collection of a small liquid or solid fecal sample. Following the collection of a sufficient amount of feces, the collected specimen is mixed thoroughly with the provided extraction buffer and left alone for a few minutes as instructed. Next, the test cassette is removed from its pouch to be placed on a clean and dry surface. Finally, a few drops of the processed sample is added to the assigned well on the test cassette. The appearance of both the test line (T) and the control line (C) within the period specified in the instruction’s manual indicates that the collected sample tested positive for a H. pylori infection. The presence of only the control line (C), on the other hand, indicates a negative test result. If the control line (C) does not appear, the test results are considered invalid and the procedure needs to be repeated with another assay.
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