Approximately 10 percent of the US population over 17 years of age have peptic ulcer disease at some time. One-third of them report an active ulcer within the last year.56 Peptic ulcer disease has a high rate of morbidity, with 8 million physicians' visits and 275,000 hospitalizations per year and a high cost to society of $5.65 billion per year in lost wages and medical care.5 Ihe prevalence of H. pylori infection in white Americans below age 35 is about 10 percent, rising to almost 80 percent by age 75. Forty-five percent of black Americans below age 25 are infected.8 Ihe prevalence of dyspepsia is 25 to 30 percent in the United States.47

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