Differences in the microbial profile in South African pregnant women with Trichomonas vaginalis and Chlamydia trachomatis infections using a real-time polymerase chain reaction approach
Background: The aim of this study was to compare the profile of the vaginal microbiota in women with and without Trichomonas vaginalis or Chlamydia trachomatis infections, a currently under-researched topic in our setting.
Methods: The study included 362 pregnant women from the King Edward VIII hospital in Durban, South Africa. The presence of Gardnerella vaginalis, Prevotella species, Lactobacillus species, Mycoplasma genitalium and Megasphaera were determined across the women who tested positive for T. vaginalis and C. trachomatis and a control group. All data analysis was performed in R Statistical computing software.
Results: Within the C. trachomatis-positive group, Lactobacillus species was shown to be the most prevalent (96.7%), followed by an equal proportion of G. vaginalis and Prevotella species (70.0%), Megasphaera (43.3%) and lastly M. genitalium (23.3%). For the T. vaginalis-positive group, the microbial profile also significantly differed (p = 0.001). T. vaginalis positives, were dominated by the G. vaginalis (36.5%), followed by Prevotella species (26.9%), Lactobacillus species (25%), and an equal proportion of Megasphaera and M. genitalium (5.8%). The microbial profile of the control group differed from the C. trachomatis and T. vaginalis-positive groups, the proportions of all the five microorganisms were not significantly different (p = 0.067).
Conclusion: The high co-infection rate between T. vaginalis and G. vaginalis observed, adds data to the association between T. vaginalis and bacterial vaginosis (BV). Studies which investigate the association between C. trachomatis and the various Lactobacillus species are needed in order to determine the role of C. trachomatis in vaginal discharge syndrome.