A clinico-sociodemographic and microbiological survey was carried out at the Port Moresby General Hospital Antenatal Clinic to determine the prevalences of bacterial vaginosis, Trichomonas vaginalis and Candida albicans vaginal infections in pregnancy and to examine if the infections had any association with some suspected sociodemographic risk factors. The study was carried out between December 1990 and January 1991. Of 206 consecutive subjects surveyed, 79 (38%) had symptomatic infection. However, on speculum examination, abnormal discharge was seen in 188 (91%). 118 (57%) had microbiologically confirmed infection. The prevalences of the individual infections were T. vaginalis 19%, C. albicans 23% and bacterial vaginosis 23%. Combined infection, i.e. two infections occurring together in the same subject, was uncommon. None of the infections had an association with any of the sociodemographic characteristics studied. Of the 118 positive subjects, 52 (44%) complained of vaginal discharge and 55 (47%) complained of pruritus.
PIP: The prevalences of vaginal infections with Trichomonas vaginalis, bacterial vaginosis, and Candida albicans were investigated in 206 consecutive pregnant women presenting to Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea) General Hospital in 1990-91 for their first antenatal visit. Bacteriologic investigation identified Candida in 48 women (23%), T. vaginalis in 39 (19%), and bacterial vaginosis in 48 (23%). Overall, 118 women (57%) were bacteriologically positive for at least one infection. 79 (38%) of the infected women complained of a vaginal discharge and 78 (38%) reported vulvar irritation; however, vaginoscopy revealed abnormal discharge in 188 (91%) of women with an infection. Infection was not associated with gestational age or any of the sociodemographic variables examined (age, parity, ethnic group, residence, husband's education). The fact that the majority of pregnant women in this series had a vaginal infection is alarming in light of the hypothesized association of such infections with intra-amniotic infection, endometritis, premature rupture of the membranes, preterm labor or birth, and low birth weight. A randomized, controlled prospective study is needed to assess the extent to which, if any, these infections are related to the high perinatal morbidity and mortality from low birth weight at Port Moresby General Hospital.