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Chapter 81 – Trichomonal Infection

Gordon C. Cook

Trichomonas vaginalis is a pathogenic protozoan with a high degree of site specificity – affecting predominantly the lower female genitourinary tract.[1] Infection may or may not be symptomatic; it can be sexually transmitted. In women, <104, and in men, 4 × 106, organisms produce an infection. Related organisms are: T. tenax and Pentatrichonomas hominis; while these colonize the gums and colon, respectively, neither is of proven pathogenicity.

First visualized by Donné in 1836, T. vaginaliswas first shown in the early twentieth century, as a result of inoculation studies, to be pathogenic. It is an ovoid organism, 10–20 μm wide; ‘twitching’ motility is brought about by four anterior flagella and a recurrent flagellum (embedded in an undulating membrane, which runs along two-thirds of the cell). It is actively phagocytic, optimal growth occurring under moderately anaerobic conditions. Reproduction is by binary fission; unlike many pathogenic …