• A prospective study was estabblished to determine the significance of the isolation of Gardnerella vaginalls from the vagina in prepubertal children. Two hundred fifty-six children were enrolled. Group 1 consisted of 137 children who had been victims of sexual abuse; group 2, forty-eight children with genitourinary complaints and no history of sexual abuse; and group 3, seventy-one children with no genitourinary complaints and no history of sexual abuse. Gardnerella vaginalis was isolated from 20 patients (14.6%) in group 1 and five (4.2%) of 119 control patients from groups 2 and 3. Within group 1, G vaginalls was more likely to be isolated from children with a history of multiple episodes of sexual abuse than those with a single episode. Gardnerella vaginalls was not associated with any other historical, physical, or laboratory findings, including vaginal erythema or vaginal discharge.