What Is H. pylori, and Is It Contagious?
H. pylori (Helicobacter pylori) are spiral shaped bacteria. H. pylori bacteria are unique because they produce the enzyme urease that allows the bacteria to live in the harsh environment of the stomach. The urease enzyme it produces reacts with urea to form ammonia that neutralizes enough of the stomach's acid to allow the organisms to survive in the tissues.
H. pylori is considered to be contagious and passed from person to person by:
- fecal contamination (in food or water), and
- poor hygiene practices.