Seroepidemiology of Treponema pallidum, Mycoplasma hominis, and Ureaplasma urealyticum in fertility treatment-seeking patients in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Noor Motea Abdo, Irfan Aslam, Shazia Irfan, Junu A. George, Ahmed R. Alsuwaidi, Luai A. Ahmed, Rami H. Al-Rifai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Several genital pathogens affect fertility. The study estimated the seroprevalence of Treponema pallidum, Ureaplasma urealyticum, and Mycoplasma hominis and identify specific factors associated with exposure to at least one of these pathogens in patients seeking fertility treatment in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Methods: A seroepidemiological survey was conducted in a major fertility clinic in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Serum samples were screened for eight immunoglobulins (IgG, IgM, and IgA) against T. pallidum, U. urealyticum, and M. hominis using enzyme-linked immunoassays. Factors associated with seropositivity to at least one of the pathogens were investigated. Results: The study surveyed 308 patients seeking fertility treatment (mean age: 36.1 ± 6.8 years). Most patients were female (88.0%), 24.9% had at least one chronic comorbidity, 19.3% had a previous genital infection, and 68.1% had been diagnosed with infertility for ≥ 6 months. Ig seroprevalence of T. pallidum (IgG: 3.0%, IgM: 3.2%), U. urealyticum (IgG: 2.6%, IgM: 2.0%), and M. hominis (IgG: 33.9%) was 6.4%, 4.6%, and 49.0%, respectively. Nearly one quarter (23.0%) and one decile (9.2%) of the patients exhibited evidence of ongoing infection (IgM seropositivity) or recent infection (IgA seropositivity) with M. hominis, respectively. Overall, 53.0% of the patients were seropositive for at least one of the screened immunoglobulins. Patients with an education level of secondary schooling or below (66.2%) or those who were unemployed (61.1%) had a higher seroprevalence of IgG antibodies compared with patients with college or higher-level education (48.4%) or those who were employed (48.1%) (p < 0.05). Conclusion: Exposure to T. pallidum or U. urealyticum was relatively low, whereas that to M. hominis was common in the surveyed patients. Enhanced awareness and screening programmes for genital pathogens are crucial to prevent and control the transmission of infections and reduce the growing burden of infertility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-171
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Infection and Public Health
Volume17
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024

Keywords

  • Infertility
  • Mycoplasma hominis
  • Reproductive health
  • Treponema pallidum
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Ureaplasma urealyticum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

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