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Aetiology of urethral discharge in Bangui, Central African Republic

Abstract

Objectives: To determine the aetiology of urethritis in Bangui, Central African Republic.

Methods: 410 men presenting with urethral discharge and 100 asymptomatic controls were enrolled. Urethral swabs were obtained and processed by gonococcal culture and polymerase chain reaction for the detection of Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Chlamydia trachomatis, Mycoplasma genitalium, Trichomonas vaginalis, and Ureaplasma urealyticum.

Results: In multivariate analyses, M genitalium and C trachomatis were significantly associated with urethral discharge when comparing cases of non-gonococcal urethritis (NGU) with controls. T vaginalis was also more common in cases than in controls, but this reached statistical significance only among cases in whom N gonorrhoeae was also detected. U urealyticum was not associated with urethritis. The gonococcus was found in 69% of cases of urethral discharge. M genitalium was the predominant pathogen in patients with NGU, being found in 42% (53/127) of such patients while C trachomatis was found in only 17% (22/127). T vaginalis was found in 18% (23/127) of patients with NGU, but also in 15% (43/283) of patients with gonococcal urethritis, and two thirds of patients with T vaginalis also had the gonococcus. Multiple infections were common. M genitalium caused a syndrome similar to chlamydial urethritis, with a less severe inflammation than in gonococcal infection. No behavioural or clinical characteristic could discriminate between the various aetiological agents.

Conclusions:M genitalium is more prevalent than C trachomatis and is the most common cause of NGU in Bangui. It causes a syndrome similar to chlamydial urethritis. T vaginalis is weakly associated with urethritis, and is often found along with other pathogens.

  • urethritis
  • Central African Republic
  • Mycoplasma genitalium

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