The Prevalence Of Trichomoniasis Among Pregnant Women Attending Antenatal Clinic In Government Hospital Gboko, Benue State, Nigeria

Project and Seminar Material for Biology

Prevalence Of Trichomoniasis Among Pregnant Women


Background: The pregnant women infected with Trichomonas vaginalis may be at risk of adverse birth outcomes such as premature rapture of membranes, premature labour, low birth weight, post – abortion or post-hysterectomy infections, as well as neonatal infections. Objectives: To determine the prevalence of trichomoniasis among pregnant women attending antenatal clinic in Government Hospital Gboko, Benue state, Nigeria.

Methodology: The study was a cross sectional survey of one hundred and fifty pregnant women aged between 15 – 60 years. Vaginal swab was collected from each of the subjects, the samples were analysed within one hour of collection. Vaginal swab specimens were also cultivated in prepared OXOID Trichomonas medium and examined for motile Trichomonads. Results: Of the total 150 pregnant women studied, 10 (7.31%) were found to have Trichomonas vaginalis, with the highest prevalence at General Hospital Gboko. The distribution showed that between the ranges of 31 – 40 were more affected, but pregnant women of the age of 21 – 30 are most affected which constitute 4.66% of the total infected cases. There were no significant differences between women of the age range of 15 – 20 and 41 – 50. The infection was more prevalent among the married (2.66%), while 2.66% of women who use pour flush toilet were most infected. Conclusion: The prevalence of Trichomonas vaginalis infection of 7.31% in our community is a public health risk, therefore, clinicians should routinely screen all pregnant women for the infection and appropriate treatment be given early, emphasis must be placed on the youths, those with low educational background and the business women.

Table of Content

  • Title Page
  • Approval Page
  • Declaration
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Abstract
  • Table of Content

Chapter One:


  • 1.1 Background of the Study
  • 1.2 Objective of the Study
  • 1.3 Purpose of the Study
  • 1.4 Statement of the Problem

Chapter Two:

Literature Review

  • Introduction
  • 2.1 Structure and Life Cycle
  • 2.2 Evolutionary Background
  • 2.3 Classification
  • 2.4 Related Human and Non-Human Species
  • 2.5 Epidemiology
  • 2.6 Clinical Manifestation
  • 2.7 Host Response and Immunology
  • 2.8 Targets of Acquired Immunity
  • 2.9 Biochemistry of Virulence and Pathogenesis
  • 2.10.1 Molecular Mechanisms of Pathogenesis
  • 2.11 Hydrolases
  • 2.12 Cytotoxic Molecules
  • 2.13 Sequencing the Genome
  • 2.14 Diagnosis
  • 2.15 Treatment
  • 2.16 Complications

Chapter Three:

Methods and Materials

  • 3.1 Study Area
  • 3.2 Selection of Study Population
  • 3.3 Materials Used
  • 3.4 Ethical Consent
  • 3.5 Collection Samples and Examination of Samples
  • 3.5.1 Parasitological methods
  • 3.6 Statistical Analysis

Chapter Four:


  • 4.1 Data Presentation and Analysis

Chapter Five:

Discussion, Conclusion and Recommendations

  • 5.1 Discussion
  • 5.2 Suggestion for Further Studies
  • Reference

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

Trichomonas vaginalis is an anaerobic, flagellated protozoan parasite and the causative agent of trichomoniasis. It is the most common pathogenic protozoan infection of humans in industrialized countries. Infection rates between men and women are similar with women being symptomatic, while infections in men are usually asymptomatic. Transmission usually occurs via direct, skin-to-skin contact with an infected individual, most often through sexual intercourse. The WHO has estimated that 160 million cases of infection are acquired annually worldwide. The estimates for North America alone are between 5 and 8 million new infections each year, with an estimated rate of asymptomatic cases as high as 50%. Usually treatment consists of metronidazole and tinidazole.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are infections that are spread primarily through person-to-person sexual contact: anal, vaginal and oral sexual contact. According to the most recent data available of WHO estimates, that 340 million new cases of curable STIs (Syphilis, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia and Trichomoniasis) occur annually throughout the world in adults aged 15 – 49 years (WHO, 2001). Considering Trichomonas Vaginalis worldwide infections, 12 million cases occur annually with a high number of 4 million cases encountered in sub-Saharan Africa. Notably, Trichomonas vaginalis caused infection is believed to increase the risk of HIV transmission.

Trichomoniasis is also associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes, infertility, postoperative infections, and cervical neoplasia (Soper, 2004). Trichomoniasis is the major problem in developing countries, where parental testing and antibiotics use are not adequately available. According to the African Humanitarian Action (AHA) report of July 2008, high rates of the commonly encountered sexually transmitted infections, in KRC, have been noticed by the 19 new cases of STIs, including Trichomonas vaginalis (Kiziba Refugee Camp Health Center, 2008). On the other hand, according to the recent information from CHUK laboratory, a high number of Trichomoniasis cases were observed each month among the patients visiting the health institution.

In women, the disease encompasses broad range of symptoms ranging from a severe inflammation and irritation with frothy malodorous discharge to a relatively asymptomatic carrier state. But the main clinical manifestation of trichomoniasis is vaginitis, urethritis and prostatitis. The outcome of infection with Trichomonas may be due to genetic variability of the isolates and the host immune response.

The vagina is the most common site of infection in women and the urethra (urine canal) is the most common site of infection in men. The parasite is sexually transmitted through penis-to-vagina intercourse or vulva­ to-vulva (the genital area outside the vagina) contact with an infected partner. Women can acquire the disease from infected men or women, but men usually contract it only from infected women. Pregnant women with trichomoniasis may have babies who are born early or with low birth weight (low birth weight is less than 5.5 pounds).

Trichomonas vaginalis is an obligate parasite in that it lacks the ability to synthesize many macromolecules de novo, particularly purines, pyrimidines and many lipids. These nutrients are acquired from the vaginal secretions or through phagocytosis of host and bacterial cells. Culture media for Trichomonas vaginalis therefore need to include all the essential macromolecules, vitamins and minerals. In particular, serum is essential for the growth of trichomonads, since it provides lipids, fatty acids, amino acids and trace metals. In vitro, it grows optimally at a pH of 6.0-6.3, although it can also grow through a wide range of pHs, especially in the changing environment of the vagina. The presence of Trichomonas vaginalis in the vagina increases predispositions to mv seroconversion. The genital inflammation caused by trichomoniasis can increase a woman’s susceptibility to HIV infection if exposed to the virus. Having trichomoniasis may increase the chance that an HIV-infected woman passes HIV to her sex partner(s).

Recent literature documents that women infected during pregnancy are predisposed to premature rupture of membranes, premature labor and low-birth-weight infants. Further, it may amplify HIV transmission. The organism typically elicits an aggressive local cellular immune response, with heavy infiltration of leucocytes, even in symptom-free patients. In addition, in about 50% of infected women, punctate hemorrhages can be observed. In an HIV-negative person, there are target cells available, as also access to blood stream.

In an mv­positive person, all this may expand the portal of exit for the virus and increase shedding of HIV-l in the genital area. Thus, trichomoniasis may amplify HIV-l transmission by increasing susceptibility in an HIV-l­ negative person and the infectiousness of an HIV -1- positive patient.

Few studies have been published on Trichomonas vaginalis.

Buve et al., (1975) confirmed that the risk of Trichomonas vaginalis is higher in women reporting a greater lifetime number of sexual partners in those with poorer education levels and in women with alcohol dependency while McClelland et al. reported that the infection was also more common in women with concomitant cervicitis or bacterial vaginosis. On the other hand, the use of condoms and progesterone-only contraceptive methods (depot­ medroxyprogestrone acetate or N orplant) was found to be associated with a lower risk of infection in a multivariate analysis model.

Prevention of trichomoniasis has not been a priority due to lack of understanding of its public health implications and lack of resources. For long it has been considered a ‘minor’ STD. It has been seen that women infected during pregnancy are predisposed to premature rupture of membranes, premature labor and low­birth-weight infants. Further, it may amplify mv transmission. The natural history of this organism, including its often symptomless nature and protracted carriage, play an important role in HIV transmission dynamics, especially where heterosexual behaviours and a high prevalence of mv obtain. The pregnant women infected with this parasite may be at risk of an adverse birth out comes such as premature rapture of membranes, premature labour, low birth weight, and post – abortion or post-hysterectomy infection, as well as infertility and enhanced predisposition to neoplastic transformation in cervical tissues. As with other sexually transmitted infections, the Trichomonas infection can increase the risk of transmission of HIV infection.

Transmission of Trichomonas Vaginalis to neonates during passage through an infected birth canal is also possible. In the foetus and the neonates, complications such as abnormalities of the major organ systems as well as infections in form of pneumonia and conjunctivitis may also occur. Neonatal infection is infrequently reported, but has been noted to cause urinary tract infection and vaginitis in infants. In addition, i infants with Trichomonas vaginalis c u l t u r e d f r o m nasopharyngeal secretions have been reported to present with significant respiratory distress.

Trichomonas vaginalis can be isolated in vaginal, prostatic or urethral secretions, semen and urine of infected individuals. The most commonly employed diagnostic methods are direct microscopic examinations of wet mount preparations (with a sensitivity of 38% – 82%), and culture techniques. Combination of both wet mount examination and culture has been recommended as being more effective in establishing diagnosis than either one alone. Direct examination of wet mount preparation of clinical specimen is the most rapid and least expensive technique for identifying Trichomonas vaginalis, hence the most commonly used. This method has however been reported insensitive for the diagnosis of the disease, particularly in male patients. Other methods include antigen detection methods, plastic envelope method, in-pouch system, cell culture, staining techniques, serological and DNA techniques.

In Nigeria, there are some documented reports on the prevalence of Trichomonas infections among women, students, Commercial sex workers and in pregnant women, but no similar study on pregnant women have been done in our region (northeastern Nigeria) and possibly only one in the northern part of Nigeria.

1.2 Objectives of the Study

  1. To determine the prevalence of Trichomonas vaginalis among pregnant woman according to their age.
  2. To isolate and identify the causative parasite.
  3. To determine the prevalence of Trichomonas vaginalis by marital status of the pregnant women.
  4. To recommend the possible ways of controlling and preventing the spread of the parasite via fomites, mother to child and sex partners.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

This study was aimed to determine the prevalence of the Trichomonas vaginalis among pregnant women attending antenatal clinic in general hospital Gboko.

1.4 Statement of the Problem

Trichomonas vaginalis has neither been the focus of intensive study none of active control program and the negligent is likely a function for relatively mind of the disease.

Chapter Five

Discussion, Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Discussion

In Africa, it is estimated that 2-50% of the populations carry the infection. The disease has important medical, social and economic implications. There is a higher prevalence of trichomoniasis among pregnant women than non-pregnant women. This might be due to the greater pelvic vascularity and oestrogenic activity on the vaginal epithelium which causes growth, maturation and exfoliation of the squamous cells and an increase in glycogen deposits in vaginal epithelial cells. Trichomonas vaginalis is reported to be associated with the alkaline vaginal environment that occurs during pregnancy due to changes in the pH of the vaginal mucosa. Women who are infected during pregnancy are predisposed to preterm rupture of the placental membrane, preterm labour, and delivery of low birth weight infants and increased infant mortality among others.

This study has found out that 7.31% of our antenatal clients were infected; with highest risk among ages 21 to 30 years, those with primary education, business women and Multigravida. The prevalence rate of 7.31 found in this study is slightly lower than 12.3% found in Abakiliki, Southern Nigeria, but much higher than other findings in Nigeria; 4.7% in Ilorin, 5.2% in Calabar and 2.8% in another study from South Eastern Nigeria. Other researchers found much higher prevalence. These include 17.7% in Uyo Nigeria, 18.66% in Zaria Nigeria, 24.1% in Jos Nigeria, 46.9% in New York, and 36.1% in Nebraska. These differences in prevalence could be explained on the basis of differences on social, cultural and environmental factors. The prevalence was much higher at Yerwa Maternal and Child Health Center (26.4%); almost four times higher than the UMTH. Both Yerwa and SSH recorded above average prevalence of Trichomonas infections. This was possible, because, most of the clients at Yerwa Clinic and SSH were poor and less educated than those at the UMTH. In fact YMCHC is a primary health care center that services the native but poor communities of Maiduguri metropolis, and is patronized by thousands of women who could not afford service-charges at the secondary and tertiary health facilities. Certain factors, common among such communities, such as poor personal hygiene, multiple sex partners, low socioeconomic status and under development are also associated with high incidence of infection.

Amongst the different age groups investigated, Trichomonas vaginalis infection prevalence was highest in women aged 39 – 44 years (21.1%). However, when we look at the youth (ages 15 – 26 years), there was higher prevalence of 33.9%. This study corroborate with, but less than, the findings in Zaria (16 – 25 years with 53.5% prevalence). The result also is in agreement with generally observed fact that the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) including trichomoniasis, by the number of cases treated each year, is highest among the 15 – 30 years age group, In our study, pregnant women were significantly infected with Trichomonas in their 2nd and 3rd trimester in nearly equal prevalence. None of them were in their first trimester. Many studies showed that the prevalence is more in the first trimester, some indicated third trimester has more, while some found more in 2nd trimester, yet a study conducted.

5.2 Suggestion for Further Studies

The study was limited to wet urine microscopy and HVS (high vigina swap) examination. Emphasis on other methods should be employed such as;

  • Antigen detection methods
  • Plastic envelop methods in pouch system
  • Cell culture techniques
  • Serological and DNA techniques.

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