Trichomonas vaginalis is distributed worldwide as a human parasite and has no other reservoirs. Since it lacks a cyst form, it is easily killed by drying. Therefore, transmission is usually by sexual contact. The organism can survive for a time on moist objects such as towels and bathtubs, so that it can occasionally be transmitted non-sexually. Nevertheless, T vaginalis infections in children should at least raise the question of sexual abuse and possible exposure to other sexually transmitted diseases. Newborn infants can contract the infection from infected mothers at birth. There is a high percentage of asymptomatic carriers, especially among men, and this fosters transmission of the disease. Infection rates are highest in men and women with multiple sex partners.
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