Helicobacter pylori (/ˌhɛlɪkɵˈbæktər paɪˈlɔəraɪ/), previously named Campylobacter pylori, is a Gram-negative, microaerophilicbacterium found in the stomach, and may be present in other parts of the body, such as the eye. It was identified in 1982 by Australian scientists Barry Marshall and Robin Warren with further research led by British scientist Stewart Goodwin, who found that it was present in patients with chronic gastritis and gastric ulcers, conditions not previously believed to have a microbial cause. It is also linked to the development of duodenal ulcers and stomach cancer. However, over 80% of individuals infected with the bacterium are asymptomatic and it may play an important role in the natural stomach ecology.
More than 50% of the world’s population harbor H. pylori in their upper gastrointestinal tract. Infection is more prevalent in developing countries, and incidence is decreasing in Western countries. H. pylori’s helical shape (from which the generic name is derived) is thought to have evolved to penetrate the mucoid lining of the stomach.