Hookworm infections and sociodemographic factors associated with female reproductive tract infections in rural areas of the central region of Togo

Adjoa Holali Ameyapoh, Gnatoulma Katawa, Manuel Ritter, Christèle Nguepou Tchopba, Pélagie Edlom Tchadié, Kathrin Arndts, Hélène E Kamassa, Bassimtou Mazou, Oukoe M Amessoudji, Akawulu N'djao, Sibabe Agoro, Celina Vogelbusch, Millicent A Omondi, Malewe Kolou, Simplice D Karou, William Horsnell, Achim Hoerauf, Yaovi Ameyapoh, Laura E Layland

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Female reproductive tract infections (FRTIs) have a huge impact on women's health including their reproductive health in rural areas. Immunomodulation by helminth infections could influence the occurrence of FRTIs. This study aimed to investigate the association between FRTIs, hookworm infections, and sociodemographic factors in six rural areas of the central region of Togo. A semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect sociodemographical information, and parasitological assessments were used to diagnose helminth infections. Moreover, cytobacteriological examination of vaginal swabs was performed for the diagnosis of candidiasis and bacterial vaginosis (BV), and real-time PCR method was used to determine sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Finally, a logistic regression analysis was performed to assess the relationship and association of these factors to FRTIs. The prevalence of FRTIs was 82.3% including STIs (74.38%), BV (31.79%), and vulvovaginal candidiasis (9.85%). In detail, FRTIs were caused by bacteria such as Ureaplasma parvum (50%), Ureaplasma urealyticum (26.5%), and Mycoplasma hominis (17.5%) and viruses such us cytomegalovirus (5%) and human papilloma virus (HPV) (20%). No cases of Haemophilus ducreyi, Treponema pallidum, or varicella-zoster virus (VZV) were observed. Interestingly, women who had hookworm infections were at high risk of HPV. The use of condoms was a protective factor [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 0.23; 95% CI [0.11-0.51)], while the use of contraceptive methods was a risk factor [aOR = 2.49; 95% CI (1.19-5.19)] for STIs. The risk of BV was lower among participants who had more than four pregnancies [aOR = 0.27; 95% CI (0.11-0.65)]. Furthermore, women who had ever been paid for sexual intercourse were at high probability risk of vulvovaginal candidiasis [aOR = 16.92; 95% CI (1.46-196.48)]. This study highlighted risk factors associated with FRTIs, the control of which would help to reduce the incidence of these diseases. Health-care professionals could develop education and sensitization strategies based on these risk factors, and anti-hookworm treatment concepts may be taken into consideration to minimize the risk of HPV infections.

Original languageEnglish
Article number738894
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2021


  • central region of Togo
  • female reproductive tract infections
  • helminth infections
  • risk factors
  • rural areas


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