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J Clin Microbiol. 1998 Feb;36(2):557-62.

Epidemiological investigation of vaginal Saccharomyces cerevisiae isolates by a genotypic method.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, California 94305, USA.

Erratum in

  • J Clin Microbiol 2000 Mar;38(3):1311.


Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a ubiquitous, ascomycetous yeast, and vaginitis caused by this organism has been reported only very rarely. The aim of the present investigation was to assess the epidemiological relatedness of a group of vaginal and commercial S. cerevisiae isolates by a previously reported genetic typing method, which divided the isolates into two broad groups with numerous subtypes. Nineteen S. cerevisiae isolates obtained from patients suffering from vaginitis and four isolates from commercial products in the same city were analyzed. The cellular DNA from each isolate was digested with the restriction endonuclease EcoRI, and restriction fragment length polymorphisms were generated by horizontal gel electrophoresis. The results showed that although vaginal isolates did not cluster in any particular genetic subtype, multiple patients were infected with indistinguishable strains (there were nine distinct strains among 23 isolates). For two of three patients, all three with two episodes of S. cerevisiae vaginitis, different strains were isolated during the recurrence of this disease. Three other patients with indistinguishable isolates were epidemiologically related in that two were practitioners in the same clinic and the third was a patient at this clinic. We also found that one commercial strain was indistinguishable from the strain isolated from three different women at the time that they were suffering from vaginitis. The findings of the present study suggest that some S. cerevisiae strains may possess properties permitting persistence in the human host. Furthermore, person-to-person contact and the proliferation of the use of S. cerevisiae as a health-food product, in home baking, and in home brewing may be a contributing factor in human colonization and infection with this organism.

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