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How important are the newly described bacteria in bacterial vaginosis?
  1. Phillip Hay
  1. Genitourinary and HIV Medicine, St George’s Hospital, University of London, London, UK
  1. Dr Phillip Hay, Genitourinary and HIV Medicine, Courtyard Clinic, St George’s Hospital, Blackshaw Road, London SW17 0QT, UK; phay{at}sgul.ac.uk

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Traditionally several bacterial species including Gardnerella vaginalis, Mycoplasma hominis, Mobiluncus spp, and Prevotella spp have been associated with bacterial vaginosis (BV). In culture, other organisms can grow but cannot always be identified and may be described by their morphology and growth characteristics, eg, anaerobic Gram-positive rods. The availability of tools to identify bacteria through genetics has allowed researchers to describe newly identified bacteria in BV, and now to assess their possible pathogenic significance. In this issue of the journal, Haggerty and colleagues1 (see page 242) describe the bacteria identified in endometrial and cervical samples of a subset of women with non-gonococcal, non-chlamydial pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) participating in the PID Evaluation and Clinical Health (PEACH) study.2 In this substudy samples from 50 subjects were tested for organisms associated with BV: Leptotrichia sanguinegens/amnionii; Atopobium vaginae and BV-associated bacteria type 1. In addition, they looked for Ureaplasma urealyticum biovar 2 (UU-2), and Ureaplasma parvum. U urealyticum has not been consistently associated with BV, but is associated with non-gonococcal urethritis in men. It has been separated into two biovars. Deguchi and colleagues3 reported that UU-2 is found in non-gonococcal urethritis but the renamed U parvum (biovar 1) is not.

What does this study add to our knowledge? The molecular techniques require considerable resources, so many studies have sampled small numbers of subjects. Previous studies have described vaginal flora in women without vaginal symptoms. …

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