Flagellated protozoan parasite Trichomonas vaginalis is an etiological agent of one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. On average, 25% of sexually active people are are infected (...)
Flagellated protozoan parasite Trichomonas vaginalis is an etiological agent of one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. On average, 25% of sexually active people are are infected with T.vaginalis. According to the latest reports, there are more than 170 million yearly cases of trichomoniasis worldwide.
In women, T.vaginalis infection leads to acute and subacute vaginitis, the symptoms of which are foamy vaginal discharge, itching, and abdominal pain. The disease has a cyclical character - symptoms decrease during menstruation and pregnancy. During pregnancy, trichomoniasis can lead to preterm labor and birth of children with low weight. In men, T.vaginalis usually causes urethritis, prostatitis, epididymitis, and dysuria. In most cases, the disease course is asymptomatic. Latent symptoms in men are explained by the loss of a large number of microbes from urogenital tract during urination. The lack of symptoms of T.vaginalis infection often leads to an underestimation of disease prevalence. Unfortunately, chronic infection almost always results in chronic prostatitis. T.vaginalis is also associated with the development of prostate cancer in men.
Following laboratory techniques are currently used for the diagnosis of trichomoniasis:
microscopy of vaginal or cervical secretions in women and urethra discharge in men;
isolation of T. vaginalis in culture;
detection of pathogen DNA by PCR;
detection of specific antibodies to T.vaginalis by ELISA.
According to several studies, sensitivity of direct detection of the parasite is 38-82%. Provided that infected people develop humoral, secretory, and cellular immune response to parasite, it can be used for diagnostic purposes. Antibodies to surface antigen and α-actinin of trichomonas are produced almost in all infected individuals, and the levels of serum antibodies correlate with activity of infection. Methods for serological diagnosis of infected people lacking clinical manifestations of trichomoniasis are of particular importance.