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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

CUNY Studies Bacterial Infections in Reproductive Age Women in the United States

Dr. Heidi Jones, a professor at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy and colleagues from around the country report results of an observational cohort study that examined the presence of anogenital Clostridium sordellii and Clostridium perfringens among women seeking reproductive health services in the United States. The results are published in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Dr. Heidi Jones
[photo: Dr. Heidi Jones]

The goal of the study was to characterize the presence of Clostridium sordellii and Clostridium perfringens in the vagina and rectum, identify correlates of presence, and describe strain diversity and presence of key toxins. At baseline, recent gynecologic surgery was associated with C sordellii presence, whereas a high body mass index was associated with C perfringens presence in adjusted models. Two of 238 C sordellii isolates contained the lethal toxin gene, and none contained the hemorrhagic toxin gene. Substantial strain diversity was observed in both species with few clusters and no dominant clones identified.

The relatively rare and transient nature of C sordellii and C perfringens presence in the vagina and rectum makes it inadvisable to use any screening or prophylactic approach to try to prevent clostridial infection. Further their findings call into question the systematic use of prophylactic antibiotics for medical abortion clients.