Vaginal candidiasis is a major cause of morbidity among women worldwide. It is caused by certain species of Candida yeast, most commonly Candida albicans. The condition usually arises due to alterations in the normal physiological state of the host and is a common infection in, for instance, poorly controlled diabetics, women on oral contraceptives and during the third trimester of pregnancy.
Clinical features associated with the infection are:-
Itching, erythema, oedema, milky white vaginal discharge and the presence of white curd like patches on the epithelial surfaces of the vulva, vagina and cervix.
However these may also be associated with other forms of vaginitis and although Candida is responsible for a relatively high percentage of vaginitis in developed countries, it is still over diagnosed . It is treated either systemically or by local application of anti fungal preparations containing, for example, miconazole or fluconazole or ketaconazole. As these preparations are now generally available over the counter women are able to treat presumptive infections without medical consultation.
Problems of current laboratory diagnostic tests
The laboratory methods available to assist physicians in making the diagnosis are:
- Culture on Sabouraudís Agar - a method which takes up to 48 hours and gives a result available only for the patient's second visit
- Wet mount microscopy - which tends to be insensitive and depends on the training of the microscopist
The Kalon Vaginal Candida Latex test
This two minute slide latex test employs polystyrene latex particles coated with affinity purified antibodies raised against cell wall preparations of three Candida species. It detects yeast cell wall mannan in the eluate from the vaginal swab provided and the result can be obtained during the consultation with the patient thereby assisting the physician in making the diagnosis1. Unlike culture, the candida latex test does not tend to detect the low numbers of yeast present in women with commensal carriage.
Click here to see PDF file of Kit Insert.
Click here for a list of references regarding the Kalon Vaginal Candida Latex test.
Ref 1: Use of slide latex agglutination test for the rapid diagnosis of vaginal candidosis.
R Rajakumar CLN Lacey, EGV Evans, JA Carney. Genitourin Med 1987;63:192-195