Abnormal vaginal flora in symptomatic non-pregnant and pregnant women in a Greek hospital: a prospective study


Bacterial vaginosis (BV), candidiasis, and trichomoniasis were the three established types of vaginal conditions until aerobic vaginitis (AV) was defined in the early 2000s. We sought to study the prevalence of abnormal vaginal flora (AVF) with inflammation in our hospital and to correlate it with AV. We prospectively collected vaginal smear specimens originated from symptomatic women who were examined at Iaso Obstetrics, Gynecology and Children’s Hospital of Athens from April 2014 until September 2015. Amsel’s criteria were used for the diagnosis of BV. The presence of leukocytes and lactobacillary grade were evaluated to classify a condition as AVF with inflammation; subsequently, bacterial cultures were performed. A total of 761 women were included. Five hundred and seventy-nine women were diagnosed with candidiasis, BV, trichomoniasis, or other types of vaginitis in which no pathogenic bacterial growth occurred in cultures. One hundred and eighty-two women (23.9 %) were diagnosed with AVF with inflammation (116 non-pregnant, 66 pregnant). Escherichia coli was the most common pathogen among these women (non-pregnant: 45.7 %, pregnant: 34.8 %). Other common pathogens were Group-B-Streptococcus (non-pregnant: 20.7 %, pregnant: 22.7 % respectively), Enterococcus faecalis (14.7 %, 18.2 %), and Klebsiella pneumoniae (6.9 %, 12.1 %). The prevalence of AVF with inflammation may be high. Since inflammation criteria were applied, most cases of BV were eliminated and the majority of cases of AVF are AV. Therefore, clinicians should include AV in the differential diagnosis of vaginitis, while microbiologists should take into account the growth of aerobic bacteria in vaginal cultures originating from women with microscopic findings of AV.

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Correspondence to M. E. Falagas.

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No informed consent was taken. The study was approved by the Scientific Committee of the Iaso Obstetrics, Gynecology and Children’s Hospital of Athens.

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Tansarli, G.S., Skalidis, T., Legakis, N.J. et al. Abnormal vaginal flora in symptomatic non-pregnant and pregnant women in a Greek hospital: a prospective study. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis 36, 227–232 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10096-016-2787-5

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  • Lactobacillus
  • Bacterial Vaginosis
  • Aerobic Bacterium
  • Vaginitis
  • Trichomoniasis