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Checking for Helicobacter pylori after a holiday cruise

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Recently in the UK a cruise ship passenger successfully took a cruise ship company to court over what was claimed to be the catching an infection of helicobacter pylori while on a cruise.

Helicobacter pylori bacteria are linked to stomach problems such as chronic gastritis (an inflammatory condition inside the stomach) ulcer disease and in some cases may be linked to gastric carcinoma.

Infection appears to be related to, amongst other factors, crowded or high density living conditions. In effect the conditions on a cruise ship increase the risk and chances of transmission. It also increases in prevalence with those over 50.

Humans are a principal reservoir for Helicobacter pylori. The most likely mode of transmission is from person to person, either by the oral-oral route or by the faecal -oral route. Waterborne transmission is possible with lack of proper hygiene increasing the risk of getting infected.

Usually, symptoms of any Helicobacter pylori infection  for infection appear after 5 days  and can be abdominal pain, heart burn and nausea and this may be mimicked by common acute gastro symptoms. However Helicobacter pylori can also be asymptomatic for many years so signs of infection may not be initially felt.

It is implied that some weeks after a gastrointestinal illness occurs especially during  a holiday cruise, it would be wise to be checked for this bacterium.