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Diagnosing genitourinary chlamydial infection

BMJ 2001; 323 doi: (Published 01 September 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:515

Vaginal swabs alone may not be sufficient

  1. Mark H Wilcox, consultant microbiologist,
  2. Dhinagar Subramanian, specialist registrar
  1. Department of Microbiology, Leeds General Infirmary, Leeds LS1 3EX
  2. Department of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Royal Free and University College Medical School, University College London, The Mortimer Market Centre, London WC1E 6AU
  3. Sexually Transmitted Infections Research Centre, Marion Villa, Westmead Hospital, Westmead, New South Wales 2145, Australia

    EDITOR—Gilson and Mindel in their article on recent advances in the management of sexually transmitted infections emphasised some important diagnostic issues.1 As Gilson and Mindel say, many studies have shown that DNA amplification tests are now the gold standard for the diagnosis of genital Chlamydia trachomatis. But we are concerned with the unreferenced statement that a vaginal swab is a better alternative for the detection of genital chlamydial infection.

    We found two studies that have examined the utility of vaginal swabs, collected either by healthcare personnel or patients themselves. 2 3 Both found high sensitivity for vaginal swabs, but this was matched by the sensitivity …

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