About this Research Topic
Infant and maternal health outcomes have been on the global agenda for almost two decades, starting with the Millennium Development Goals and continuing with the ongoing Sustainable Development Goals. Thanks to global effort and public health interventions, such indicators have been improving in most geographical areas. Nonetheless, adverse obstetric and perinatal outcomes remain common pregnancy outcomes in low- and middle-income countries.
While there are several factors associated with those adverse outcomes, female genital-tract infections persist as one of the main threats to perinatal health. In particular, sexually transmitted infections may lead to adverse pregnancy outcomes (e.g. miscarriage, growth restriction, premature birth and stillbirth) and cause neonatal morbidity (e.g. conjunctivitis, pneumonia and complications due to low birth weight/prematurity). Similarly, various non-sexually transmitted infections have been implicated with obstetric and neonatal morbidity. Efforts to map the burden of these infections globally have shown a worldwide distribution, and especially high prevalence in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and the Americas. Important examples are Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Trichomonas vaginalis and Treponema pallidum (syphilis) infection. Many of such infections might be asymptomatic and, depending on the national guidelines, might remain untreated without diagnostic screening, increasing the risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes. However, most of them are curable and their negative impact on pregnancy outcomes could be reduced or prevented.
In addition to these acquired genital-tract infections, there is a growing interest in the impact of the normal microbial colonization of the human body, and changes therein, on perinatal outcomes. Indeed, ecological communities of commensal microorganisms (microbiota) form an integral part of human life, and play an important role in maintaining homeostasis. The vaginal microbiota is one such community. Commensal microorganisms colonizing the vagina have been implicated in both health and disease, and research has suggested links between those and many pathological conditions, as well as susceptibility to various genital-tract infections. Further, dysbiosis of the vaginal microbiome, e.g. bacterial vaginosis, has been associated with negative perinatal outcomes. However, despite being one of the simplest communities in the body, the physiological and pathogenetic role of the vaginal microbiota is not completely understood.
The aim of this research topic is to bring together research expertise, highlight interesting and pivotal discoveries, and present the latest developments addressing the field of genital-tract microorganisms and perinatal health. Such set of articles will certainly contribute new scientific evidence to the global efforts of improving pregnancy outcomes.
We hope to attract an international collection of papers to further shed light on this topic. Papers on basic scientific evidence, epidemiological studies, new approaches for patients and population management, and everywhere along the translational spectrum are welcome.
This Research Topic encourages original research articles, systematic and (mini) reviews, methods papers, perspectives and editorials.
Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:
-Burden of sexually and genital-tract infections during pregnancy;
-Impact of sexually transmitted infections on pregnancy outcomes;
-Impact of other genital-tract infections during pregnancy;
-Description of the vaginal microbiome and its changes during pregnancy;
-Vaginal dysbiosis and pregnancy outcomes;
-Diagnostic approaches to address genital-tract infections during pregnancy;
-Impact of therapeutic regimens for genital-tract infections on pregnancy outcomes;
-Public health strategies to address the impact of genital microorganisms on perinatal outcomes;
-Effects of perinatal microorganisms during different pregnancy stages;
-Efforts that support the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of sexually transmitted infection, such as HIV and syphilis;
-Association of genital-tract infection and diversity of the vaginal microbiota in pregnancy;
-Diversity and changes of the vaginal microbiota along pregnancy;
-Role of the vaginal microbiota in pregnancy.
Keywords: Genital tract infection, sexually-transmitted infection, microbiome, pregnancy, perinatal
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