Samples from the posterior vaginal fornix of 102 women with various clinical conditions were analysed by a quantitative method. Aerobes were isolated from all but one of the specimens at a mean concentration of 7.2 log cfu/g and anaerobes from 92 specimens at a mean concentration of 8.1 log cfu/g. In most clinical conditions and in a control group of asymptomatic women, anaerobes outnumbered aerobes by about ten to one (one log unit). The most common organisms were aerobic and anaerobic lactobacilli, coryneforms, spp. and anaerobic gram-positive cocci. Lactobacilli did not appear to confer any protective effect by excluding the presence of other organisms such as or anaerobes. The isolation of anaerobic organisms from the vagina cannot be regarded as being of pathogenic significance without other supporting evidence.


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