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J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol. 2007 Oct;20(5):315-7.

Streptococcus pyogenes pharyngeal colonization resulting in recurrent, prepubertal vulvovaginitis.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois, USA.



Recurrent, prepubertal, vaginal infections are an uncommon, troublesome problem for the patient and her family. Failure of initial therapy to alleviate vulvovaginitis may be related to vulvar skin disease, foreign body, sexual abuse, pinworms, reactions to medications, anatomic anomalies, or allergies. This report describes a case of recurrent Streptococcus pyogenes vulvovaginitis secondary to presumed vaginal re-inoculation from pharyngeal colonization.


A 4-yr-old presented with one year of culture proven, recurrent Streptococcus pyogenes vulvovaginitis. Her symptoms repeatedly resolved with penicillin therapy, but continued to recur following cessation of antibiotic therapy. Evaluation included physical examination, trans-abdominal pelvic ultrasound, and vaginoscopy which all revealed normal upper and lower genital tract anatomy. Both the patient and her mother demonstrated culture proven, Group A Streptococcus pharyngeal colonization. Because of the possibility of repeated inoculations of the vaginal area from the colonized pharynx, they were both treated for decolonization with a regimen of amoxicillin and rifampin for ten days. Following this therapy there was resolution of vaginal symptoms with no further recurrence. Follow-up pharyngeal culture done on both mother and child on their last visit were negative for Group A Streptococcus.


This case demonstrated an unusual specific cause of recurrent vaginitis resulting from presumed self or maternal re-inoculation with group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus from pharyngeal colonization. Group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus are consistently sensitive to penicillin, but up to 25% of acute pharyngitis cases treated with penicillin having continued asymptomatic, bacterial carriage within the nasopharynx. Thus initial alleviation of symptoms in a patient with Group A beta-hemolytic vulvovaginitis treated with penicillin, can have continued asymptomatic pharyngeal colonization which can result in recurrence of the vulvovaginitis. This case stresses the importance of considering re-infection through this route in the patient with recurrent Group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus vulvovaginitis.

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