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Vulvovaginitis caused by Candida species is a common fungal infection among adult and pregnant women. Candida albicans is the main cause of Vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC). The study included 250 women with age range from 17 to 45 years, attending specialist hospitals in Baghdad, Iraq. Vaginal smears were cultured on selective chrome agar and Sabouraud dextrose agar; Candida spp. was identified according to standard methods and biochemical tests. The identification of isolates was also carried out by Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) using the universal primer of ITS4 region and species-specific primers. Out of the 250 vaginal smears collected, 141 (56.4%) isolates of yeast were isolated, among which 81 (57.4%) were Candida albicans and 60 (42.6%) were non-albicans. The most common Candida species were C. albicans (57.4%) followed by C. glabrata 29(20.6%), C. tropicalis 19(13.5%), and C. krusei 12(8.5%), respectively. The identification of the Candida spp. by PCR confirmed the primary identification by biochemical tests. According to the primers of internal transcript spacer (ITS) 1 and 2, the PCR assays exhibited the amplification products of 402 bp for C. albicans in the tested samples and high specificity of molecular detection for non-albicans Candida species among the local isolates. In conclusion, the high prevalence of Candida isolates among Iraqi female patients with Vulvovaginitis indicates the importance of regular screening and routine examination for candidiasis in Iraqi hospitals.
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