Vaginal discharge as an indicator of gonorrhea and Chlamydia infection in girls under 12 years old

Pediatr Emerg Care. 1993 Dec;9(6):341-5. doi: 10.1097/00006565-199312000-00004.


Cultures for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are frequently obtained as part of an evaluation for alleged sexual abuse, but the prevalence of STDs in abused children is very low. Furthermore, STDs in children may not be identified if the clinician does not maintain a high index of suspicion in the symptomatic child. A retrospective review was done to study the symptoms and presenting complaints of girls under 12 with gonorrhea and chlamydia infections and to examine the prevalence of STDs in asymptomatic girls. The charts of 622 patients were reviewed. All patients were females under 12, Tanner I or II, who were initially seen for evaluation of sexual abuse or who were diagnosed with an STD. During the study period, 28 girls were found to have STDs. Twenty-two of these girls had vaginal gonorrhea; vaginal chlamydia was diagnosed in eight. Twenty-three of the 28 girls (82%) with an STD were initially seen and cultured for a chief complaint of vaginal discharge. Of the 581 patients who were cultured for evaluation of abuse, only five STDs were diagnosed (0.7%). All 22 girls with gonorrhea had a vaginal discharge on examination. Of the eight girls with chlamydia, two also had vaginal gonorrhea. Of the six who had chlamydia without gonorrhea, asymptomatic infection was common; four gave histories of discharge but only one had a discharge on examination. Our review indicates that girls under 12 who present for evaluation of vaginal discharge may have an STD and should be cultured for gonorrhea and chlamydia whether or not sexual abuse is suspected.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / complications*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chlamydia Infections / complications
  • Chlamydia Infections / diagnosis*
  • Chlamydia Infections / etiology
  • Chlamydia trachomatis* / isolation & purification
  • Female
  • Gonorrhea / complications
  • Gonorrhea / diagnosis*
  • Gonorrhea / etiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Leukorrhea / etiology*
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / isolation & purification
  • Rectum / microbiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Vagina / microbiology