OBJECTIVES: Candida albicans generally remains the principal pathogenic yeast responsible for vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC), although with variable prevalence. In this study, we evaluated the evolution of the prevalence of the non-Candida albicans Candida (NCAC) species and investigated the genotypic diversity and the population genetic structure of the circulating C. albicans strains associated with VVC in the vicinity of Franceville (Gabon).
METHODS: A total of 110 independent isolates were identified using both MALDI-TOF MS and conventional techniques. The population genetic structure of the C. albicans strains was determined by multiple locus variable-number tandem repeat analysis using 4 microsatellite markers.
RESULTS: The mean and median age of the patients was 31 years. Seven patients had a mixed infection. C. albicans accounted for 62 % (n=68) of the total isolates. NCAC were dominated by C. glabrata, followed by P. kudriavzevii, C. parapsilosis, C. tropicalis, M. guilliermondii, and C. nivariensis. The cluster analysis revealed a high diversity, with a total of 50 different genotypes. The most represented genotype was shared by only four strains, while the vast majority (39 strains) had a unique MLVA pattern. Geographic clusters were not detected.
CONCLUSION: The study provides information on species distribution and possible changing epidemiology while reporting for the first time C. nivariensis in VVC in Africa. This study is also the first to investigate the genotypic diversity of the circulating C. albicans strains associated with VVC in Central Africa. Such analyses would help understand the molecular epidemiology of C. albicans.