Objective: To determine whether severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is present in the vaginal secretions of both reproductive-aged and postmenopausal women during acute SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Design: Prospective study.
Setting: A single tertiary, university-affiliated medical centre in Israel. Time period, 1 June 2020 through to 31 July 2020.
Population: Women who were hospitalised in a single tertiary medical centre, who were diagnosed with acute SARS-CoV-2 infection by a nasopharyngeal RT-PCR test.
Methods: Women were diagnosed with acute SARS-CoV-2 infection by a nasopharyngeal RT-PCR test. Vaginal RT-PCR swabs were obtained from all study participants after a proper cleansing of the perineum.
Main outcome measures: Detection of SARS-CoV-2 in vaginal RT-PCR swabs.
Results: Vaginal and nasopharyngeal swabs were obtained from 35 women, aged 21-93 years. Twenty-one women (60%) were in their reproductive years, of whom, five were in their third trimester of pregnancy. Most of the participants (57%) were healthy without any underlying medical conditions. Of the 35 patients sampled, 2 (5.7%) had a positive vaginal RT-PCR for SARS-CoV-2, one was premenopausal and the other was a postmenopausal woman. Both women had mild disease.
Conclusion: Our findings contradict most previous reports, which did not detect the presence of viral colonisation in the vagina. Although passage through the birth canal exposes neonates to the vaginal polymicrobial flora, an acquisition of pathogens does not necessarily mandate neonatal infection or clinical disease. Nevertheless, when delivering the infant of a woman with acute SARS-CoV-2 infection, a clinician should consider the possibility of vaginal colonisation, even if it is uncommon.
Tweetable abstract: When delivering the infant of a woman with acute SARS-CoV-2 infection, a clinician should consider the possibility of vaginal colonisation.
Keywords: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2; vaginal secretion.
© 2020 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.