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Trichomonas vaginalis is Highly Prevalent in Adolescent Girls, Pregnant Women, and Commercial Sex Workers in Ndola, Zambia

Crucitti, Tania PHD*; Jespers, Vicky MD*; Mulenga, Chanda MSc; Khondowe, Shepherd MPH; Vandepitte, Judith MD*; Buvé, Anne PHD*

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: April 2010 - Volume 37 - Issue 4 - p 223-227
doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0b013e3181c21f93
Original Study

Objectives: The aim of the study was to assess the prevalence of Trichomonas sp. infection among adolescent girls, pregnant women, and commercial sex workers in Ndola, Zambia.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 460 girls attending school, 307 pregnant women, and 197 commercial sex workers. Self-collected specimens from the vagina, rectum, and mouth were tested by polymerase chain amplification assays for the presence of Trichomonas vaginalis, Pentatrichomonas hominis, and Trichomonas tenax. Genotyping was performed on specimens that tested positive for T. vaginalis.

Results: The prevalence of vaginal infection with T. vaginalis was 24.6% among the adolescents, 32.2% among the pregnant women, and 33.2% among the commercial sex workers. Trichomonads other than T. vaginalis were rarely found in the vagina, rectum, and mouth. The presence of T. vaginalis in the rectum was associated with T. vaginalis in the vagina. T. tenax was also detected in the vagina. A total of 9 actin genotypes of T. vaginalis were identified. The distribution of the actin genotypes of T. vaginalis was similar in the 3 study groups.

Conclusion: We detected high prevalence rates of trichomoniasis among women in Ndola, Zambia. Prevalence among adolescent girls was lower than among pregnant women and commercial sex workers but was still high. We were not able to detect differences in T. vaginalis actin genotypes among the 3 study groups.

In a cross-sectional study among adolescent girls, pregnant women, and commercial sex workers in Ndola, Zambia, high prevalence rates of Trichomonas vaginalis infection were found while infection with other trichomonads was rare.

From the *Department of Microbiology, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium; and †Department of Microbiology, Tropical Diseases Research Centre, Ndola, Zambia.

The authors thank all participants for their willingness to participate in this study. The authors are indebted to all recruiting staff from the TDRC who walked long distances day and night they also thank the laboratory staff and in particular Ireen Nyoni from the TDRC laboratory, and Said Abdellati, Vicky Cuylaerts, Bénédicte De Deken, and Hilde Smet from the ITM laboratory. They are also grateful to David Mwakazanga, the field and data entry supervisor at TDRC and they also thank J. Kulda (Charles university, Prague) for so generously providing the Trichomonad strains.

Supported by the Directorate General for Development Cooperation, Belgian Government (AIDS Impuls Fonds n°904100).

Correspondence: Tania Crucitti, PhD, HIV/STI Reference Laboratory, Institute of Tropical Medicine, 155 Nationalestraat, 2000 Antwerpen-Belgium. E-mail:

Received for publication May 27, 2009, and accepted September 18, 2009.

© Copyright 2010 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association