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The protozoan parasite Trichomonas vaginalis is the most common non-viral, sexually transmitted pathogen. Although T. vaginalis is highly prevalent among women in Kenya, there is lack of data regarding genetic diversity of isolates currently in circulation in Kenya.Typing was performed on 22 clinical isolates of T. vaginalis collected from women attending the antenatal care clinic at Kilifi County Hospital, Kenya, in 2015. Genotyping followed a previously proposed restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) scheme, which involved in silico cleavage of the amplified actin gene by HindII, MseI and RsaI restriction enzymes. Phylogenetic analysis of all the sequences was performed to confirm the results obtained by RFLP-analysis and to assess the diversity within the RFLP genotypes. Additionally, we determined carriage of the four different types of Trichomonas vaginalis viruses (TVVs) by polymerase chain reaction.In silico RFLP-analysis revealed five actin genotypes; 50.0% of the isolates were of actin genotype E, 27.3% of actin genotype N, 13.6% of actin genotype G and 4.5% of actin genotypes I and P. Phylogenetic analysis was in agreement with the RFLP-analysis, with the different actin genotypes clustering together. Prevalence of TVVs was 43.5% (95% confidence interval, CI: 23.2-65.5). TVV1 was the most prevalent, present in 39.1% of the strains and 90% of the T. vaginalis isolates which harbored TVVs had more than one type of TVV. None of the isolates of actin genotype E harbored any TVV.The presence of five actin genotypes in our study suggests notable diversity among T. vaginalis isolates occurring among pregnant women in Kilifi, Kenya. Isolates of the most prevalent actin genotype E lacked TVVs. We found no association between T. vaginalis genotype, carriage of TVVs and symptoms. Further studies with higher number of strains should be conducted in order to corroborate these results.

Original publication





Parasites & vectors

Publication Date





Centre for Geographic Medicine Research - Coast, Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), P.O. Box 230-80108, Kilifi, Kenya.


Humans, Trichomonas vaginalis, Totiviridae, Pregnancy Complications, Parasitic, Trichomonas Vaginitis, Actins, Cross-Sectional Studies, Polymerase Chain Reaction, Sequence Analysis, Phylogeny, Pregnancy, Genotype, Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length, Computer Simulation, Adolescent, Adult, Middle Aged, Kenya, Female, Genetic Variation, Young Adult, Molecular Typing