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Int J STD AIDS. 2000 Mar;11(3):150-5.

Diagnosis of bacterial vaginosis by wet mount identification of bacterial morphotypes in vaginal fluid.

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Department of Health and Environment, University of Linköping, Sweden.


In order to develop a more practical way of diagnosing bacterial vaginosis (BV), we evaluated a scoring system, weighting small bacterial morphotypes versus lactobacillary morphotypes in wet mounts, assessed criteria for BV and normalcy from this scoring, and then evaluated their reproducibility and accuracy. We examined 754 women for pH, homogeneous vaginal discharge, amine odour, clue cells and the composite clinical diagnosis. We also examined wet mounts for small bacterial morphotypes and lactobacillary morphotypes, and weighted their quantitative presence as a bacterial morphotype score. The term 'small bacterial morphotypes' denotes a group of small bacillary forms comprising coccobacilli, tiny rods, and mobile curved rods. The different characteristics of BV were all gradually associated with increased bacterial morphotype scoring. We deemed a score of 0-1 as normal, 2-4 as intermediate phase, grade I, 5-6 as intermediate phase, grade II, and 7-8 indicative of BV. Reproducibility of the interpretation was high, both for the new grading system (weighted Kappa 0.90 in women perceiving and 0.81 in women not perceiving abnormal vaginal discharge) and for the new criterion for BV (non-weighted Kappa 0.91 and 0.84 in the 2 groups of women). The new criterion also proved highly concurrent with the composite clinical diagnosis (Kappa 0.91 and 0.81 in the 2 groups). In conclusion, the wet mount bacterial morphotype scoring is valid for grading of the disorder of the vaginal microbial ecosystem, and the new criterion for BV a more practical option than existing diagnostic methods.

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