In a study of Gardnerella vaginalis and anaerobic bacteria in non-specific vaginitis (NSV) and other genital disease 89 patients attending a genital medicine clinic had vaginal samples examined for conventional pathogens and for quantitative analysis of G vaginalis and aerobic and anaerobic bacterial flora. The overall incidence of G vaginalis was 20%; G vaginalis (mean concentration 7.0 log10/g of secretion) occurred predominantly in patients with NSV (57%) but also in sexual contacts of non-specific urethritis (NSU) (37.5%) and in patients with other conditions (11.8%). G vaginalis is therefore a relatively common isolate in patients with vaginal discharge. The concentration of aerobic and anaerobic bacteria ranged from 4.9-11.0 log10/g of secretion with an anaerobe-to-aerobe ratio of 10:1. Anaerobic bacteria, particularly anaerobic Gram-positive cocci (mean concentrations 7.7 log10/g), were present in patients with NSV and in association with G vaginalis, but they also occurred in other clinical groups and with other pathogens, particularly Trichomonas vaginalis. Anaerobic bacteria may therefore play an important role in the pathogenesis of vaginal infections.
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