African Enigma

African Enigma

A term referring to the alleged dissociation between the prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection in the African population and H. pylori-related diseases, including duodenal ulcer, gastric ulcer, and gastric cancer. A meta-analysis of 40 prospective endoscopic studies from 17 African countries encompassing 20,531 patients between 1972 and 2001 concluded that H. pylori-related clinical outcomes were indeed common; duodenal ulcers occurred in 21%, gastric ulcers in 3%, and gastric cancers in 2%, thus militating against the validity of the African enigma. The myth resulted from reliance on anecdotal data and selection bias in populations with extremely limited access to health care and a relatively short life expectancy.
References in periodicals archive ?
This anomaly has been referred to as the 'African enigma'.
A low frequency of these polymorphisms in the black population may explain the African enigma. Such an association study is being conducted in our laboratory in the University of Pretoria.
pylori infection (>90% in many areas) (6) and the occurrence of clinically important disease ("the African enigma").
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