Ursula Fürnkranz1,2, Iwona Lesiak-Markowicz2, Lilianna Teodorowicz1, Angelika Stary1
1Outpatients Centre for Diagnosis of Infectious Venero-dermatological Diseases, Vienna; Austria
2Institute for Specific Prophylaxis and Tropical Medicine, Medical University of Vienna, Austria

Trichomonas vaginalis is the most frequent non-viral sexually transmitted microbe in the developing world. A symbiosis of T. vaginalis with Mycoplasma hominis and impacts on pathogenesis and drug resistance are currently discussed. Aim of the study was to update the prevalence of T. vaginalis in STI patients and to investigate the occurrence of symbiotic M. hominis for the first time in Austria.

Material and Methods:
Genital swabs of patients attending the Outpatients Centre from 2018 to 2020 were tested for T. vaginalis by culture and by the nucleic acid amplification assay using the Aptima Trichomonas vaginalis test (Hologic). M. hominis was diagnosed by using specific culture plates (Biorad). Cultured T. vaginalis were analysed by Mycoplasma genus-specific primers and sequenced for the intracellular presence of M. hominis.

Total infection rate with T. vaginalis was 0.1% (in men) and 0.4% (in women). 83 cultured isolates of T. vaginalis were investigated for intracellular M. hominis: 28% (23/83) were tested positive for intracellular M. hominis. In 52% (12/23) M. hominis was also diagnosed by culture, in 48% (11/23) M. hominis was exclusively detected intracellularly by PCR. In further 72% (60/83) of T. vaginalis positive culture, M. hominis was negative by PCR and only detected by culture in vaginal swabs.

The prevalence of T. vaginalis was low in the examined individuals. Our data indicate that infections with M. hominis may occur more frequently, as M. hominis can hide inside T. vaginalis and remain undetected by culture methods.


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