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Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2011 Apr;155(2):199-203. doi: 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2010.11.022. Epub 2010 Dec 30.

The epidemiology of Candida species associated with vulvovaginal candidiasis in an Iranian patient population.

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Skin Research Center, Shaheed Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.



Vulvovaginal candidiasis is a common infection among women worldwide. According to previous epidemiological studies, Candida albicans is the most common species of Candida. The prevalence of non-Candida species, however, is increasing. Identification of Candida species among the population will not only help health professionals to choose suitable antifungal treatments, but also prevent development of drug resistance. The aim of this study was to identify, using chromogenic agar medium, the Candida species associated with vulvovaginal candidiasis among a sample of the Iranian population.


In a prospective cohort study during a two year period from March 2006 to March 2008, swab samples of vaginal discharge/secretion were taken from 200 patients admitted to the gynecology clinic of Mahdieh Hospital (Tehran, Iran) with a clinical presentation suggestive of vulvovaginal candidiasis. The isolates obtained were cultured on Sabouraud dextrose agar and chromogenic agar medium. Candida species were also identified by germ tube formation in serum, chlamydospore production on Corn Meal Agar and carbohydrate absorption using the API 20C-AUX kit. Participants were asked to complete a questionnaire investigating the risk factors associated with candidiasis. An assessment of the different species of recurrent and non-recurrent candidiasis was also made. Descriptive statistics, chi-square test, and t-test were used to analyze the data.


A total of 191 isolates were obtained from 175 vaginal specimens. Candida albicans accounted for 67% of the strains including single and mixed infections. The other identified species were Candida glabrata (18.3%), Candida tropicalis (6.8%), Candida krusei (5.8%), Candida parapsilosis (1.6%), and Candida guilliermondii (0.5%) respectively. Mixed infection with two or more species of Candida was seen in 10.3% of patients. The most common mixed cause was the combination of Candida albicans and Candida glabrata. Participants who were sexually active and those who had orogenital sex were more likely to suffer recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis.


Candida albicans was the most common cause of recurrent and non-recurrent vulvovaginitis. The second most common species was Candida glabrata. This study suggests CHROMagar method as a convenient and cost effective yet reliable method to isolate the species of Candida especially in cases where more than one species is present.

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