Vulvo-vaginal candidiasis (VVC) is a pathogenic fungal infection with a high burden among women of reproductive age (WRA). Healthcare delivery system related constraints in developing countries have made its diagnosis and management unnecessarily complicated leading to poor management of the infection. The study was conducted to determine the prevalence of VVC among women attending clinics in selected hospitals in Oyo State, Nigeria. Two hundred high vaginal swabs were collected from the selected hospitals. These were streaked on chocolate agar, blood agar and sabouraud dextrose agar. Structured tool was used in collecting patients’ basic clinical information. The prevalence of Candida species among the 200 subjects was 40% and 45.0% of those infected were aged 20-30 years. Across all Candida species, Candida albicans (83.8%) had the highest prevalence and mostly occurred among patients aged 20-30 years (47.8%). Higher proportion of Candida species infection was detected among patients without vaginal discharge (65.0%) and pelvic inflammation diseases (88.8%) than those with symptoms. Higher proportion of those without vaginal itching (34.5%, n=69) had positive Candida albicans culture compared with those who had symptoms. Among the Candida species reported in this study, C. albicans was the most vulvo-vaginal candida infection. Majority of patients without pelvic inflammatory disease, vaginal discharge and itching symptoms tested positive for VVC. Health education and awareness for routine screening are highly recommended for WRA to aid in early candida diagnosis and treatment. Also, clinicians are advised to essentially emphasize on empirical laboratory diagnosis for speciation of Candida species as against syndromic approach.
Key words: Vulvo-vaginal candidiasis, prevalence, Candida species, routine screening, diagnosis.
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