This study was designed to examine the microbiological quality and semen indices of seminal fluids of sexually active males in Benin City, Nigeria, and to determine the relationship between the presence of pathogenic micro-organisms and semen parameters. Semen was collected from 229 volunteer sexually-active men, aged 19 - 33 years (mean 24.73 ± 3.4) in Benin City, Nigeria. Volunteers were advised to abstain from sex for 3 days before semen collection and also from alcohol (including other factors that may affect semen quality). A ten-fold serial dilution of well mixed semen in physiological saline (NaCl 0.15 M) was inoculated onto blood agar, heated blood agar, MacConkey agar, Sabouraud dextrose agar slants and mycoplasmal agar enriched with 30% serum and supplemented with 100 µg/ml ceftazidine for the isolation of Mycoplasma species. All inoculated culture media were incubated at 37°C for 24 - 48 h. Isolates were characterized and identified by standard microbiological methods and antimicrobial sensitivity test was carried out by the disc diffusion method. The determination of spermatozoa concentration, motility characteristics and other accompanying cells was carried out adopting standard procedures. Micro-organisms (≥ 3 × 106 cfu/ml) were isolated from 80/229 (34.9%) of participants’ semen. The isolates were Staphylococcus aureus47/80 (58.8%). Escherichia coli 10/80 (12.5%) Klebsiella spp. 6/80 (7.5%),Candida albicans 5/80 (6.3%) and Mycoplasma species 12/80 (15.0%). Sensitivity to antimicrobial agents was highest among isolates to ciprofloxacin and pefloxacin. No activity was demonstrated with amoxicillin and tetracycline. Spermatozoa concentration was zero in 10.4% of the study population, 28.4% had concentrations below World Health Organization threshold for spontaneous male fertility. Semen with pathogenic micro-organisms had significantly lower (p < 0.001) spermatozoa concentrations and motility parameters. Therefore, the study suggests that the presence of pathogenic micro-organisms in semen is a marker of deterioration in semen parameters and development of male infertility.
Key words: Microbiology, pathogenic microorganisms, semen, sexually active males, antimicrobial, Nigeria.
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