Original Research

‘Mycoplasma hominis does not share common risk factors with other genital pathogens’: Findings from a South African pregnant cohort

Meleshni Naicker, Fazana Dessai, Ravesh Singh, Nireshni Mitchev, Partson Tinarwo, Nathlee S. Abbai
Southern African Journal of Infectious Diseases | Vol 36, No 1 | a207 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajid.v36i1.207 | © 2021 Meleshni Naicker, Fazana Dessai, Ravesh Singh, Nireshni Mitchev, Partson Tinarwo, Nathlee S. Abbai | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 April 2020 | Published: 19 May 2021

About the author(s)

Meleshni Naicker, School of Clinical Medicine Laboratory, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Fazana Dessai, School of Clinical Medicine Laboratory, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Ravesh Singh, Department of Medical Microbiology, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Nireshni Mitchev, Department of Medical Microbiology, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Partson Tinarwo, Department of Biostatistics, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Nathlee S. Abbai, Department of Clinical Medicine Laboratory, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: The role of Mycoplasma hominis (M. hominis) as a genital tract pathogen was still debatable. This study identified the risk factors associated with the prevalence of M. hominis in South African pregnant women.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional analysis of n = 221 prenatal patients attending a Durban hospital during November 2017 to April 2018. M. hominis was detected from urine samples using the quantitative polymerase chain reaction. The population characteristics were described using frequencies stratified by the infection status of M. hominis. In addition, a univariate analysis was used to assess the relationship between each risk factor and infection status. The analysis further considered logistic regression to assess the influence of these risk factors univariately and in the presence of other factors. The coinfection rate between M. hominis and bacterial vaginosis (BV), Trichomonas vaginalis (T. vaginalis), Mycoplasma genitalium (M. genitalium) and Candida species was also determined. All the tests were conducted at 5% level of significance.

Results: The prevalence of M. hominis in this study population was 48% (106/221). In the univariate analysis, factors significantly associated with M. hominis positivity included having past abnormal vaginal discharge (p = 0.037), having current abnormal vaginal discharge (p = 0.010) and a borderline significance (p = 0.052), which were noted for previous pre-term delivery. However, none of these factors were sustained in the multivariate analysis. There was a statistically significant association between M. hominis and BV positivity (p < 0.001). Similarly, M. hominis and M. genitalium positivity was significant (p = 0.006).

Conclusion: This study showed that M. hominis does not share common risk factors with known genital tract pathogens in a population of pregnant women and therefore cannot be considered a genital tract pathogen.


Keywords

Mycoplasma hominis; vaginal infections; pregnant women; risk factors ; HIV infection; bacterial vaginosis

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