oa Central African Journal of Medicine - Vaginal flora of women admitted to hospital with signs of sepsis following normal delivery, caesarian section or abortion

Volume 39, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0008-9176



The microbial flora of the genital tract of 95 women who developed clinical signs of infection within 48 hours of vaginal delivery, Caesarian section delivery or abortion were compared with 111 women who delivered at the same hospital during the same time period but who showed no signs of sepsis. While there were no significant differences in the prevalence of most organisms in the lower genital tract of women with and without sepsis, there was evidence of a higher prevalence of gonococcal, chlamydial and anaerobic infection in the former. Gonococci were isolated from over 20 percent of untreated women with sepsis, more than three times the prevalence in controls. A third of the isolates were penicillinase-producing and another third showed in vitro resistance to penicillin. Chlamydial antigen was detected in 16-20 percent of women with sepsis following vaginal delivery or abortion, compared with 6 percent of controls. Neither gonococcal nor chlamydial infections were significantly associated with sepsis following Caesarian section delivery. Clue cells, indicative of G. vaginalis infection were noted in 20 percent of patients with sepsis compared with 7 percent of controls while amongst the other anaerobes only pigment producing Bacteroides were associated with sepsis. These findings suggest that antepartum investigations for clue cells, chlamydial antigen, gonococci and pigment producing anaerobes may identify patients most at risk from obstetric sepsis in Harare, and identify those for whom prophyllactic administration of antibiotics may be of benefit.

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