• Child sexual abuse;
  • Gardnerella vaginalis;
  • genital aerobic flora;
  • vulvovaginitis

The purpose of the study is to describe the genital aerobic bacterial flora including Gardnerella vaginalis in girls and the occurrence of anal G. vaginalis in both genders. From a group of 3773 children, 278 (99 boys and 179 girls) with a mean age of 5.63 y (range: 5.13–6.73) were recruited. Inclusion in the study was based on self-selection, whereby parents who did not suspect any occurrence of sexual abuse of their child gave informed consent to participate. Several mechanisms were undertaken to exclude abused children. At least one bacterial species was isolated from the genitals of 59 (33.9%) girls. Most isolates (39 out of 99) were bacteria representing skin flora (staphylococci and coryneform organisms), with viridans streptococci and related organisms as the second most common group of isolates (31 out of 99). S. anginosus was the single most frequent bacterial species identified (17 isolates). Streptococcus pyogenes was isolated from the genitals of two girls, Streptococcus pneumoniae from one girl and Haemophilus influenzae from eight girls. G. vaginalis was not isolated from the genitals in any girl, but the organism was isolated from the anal canal in three children.

Conclusion: A large number of different aerobic organisms were identified from the genital area. G. vaginalis was rare and only isolated from the anal canal.