Reappraisal of Gram-staining and cultural techniques for the diagnosis of gonorrhoea in women.
A retrospective study of 209 consecutive cases of gonorrhoea showed that more than 98 per cent. of cases were detected by two sets of examinations at weekly intervals. This was compared with earlier results obtained at this clinic when only 86 per cent. of cases were detected by two examinations. It is believed that modifications in culture techniques were responsible for the improvement and that two tests are now sufficient to screen for gonococcal infection in the majority of patients when an efficient microbiological service is available. Because of the high incidence of infection in contacts of men with gonorrhoea, a third test is recommended for the small number of such patients who have negative results of their first two tests. This also serves to monitor the efficiency of the culture techniques. The majority of women with gonorrhoea attended because they were believed to be contacts of men with the disease but many attended of their own accord because they had symptoms. Mild symptoms were described by as many as 53-5 per cent. of all infected women. Nine cases of gonorrhoea were detected during the follow-up period. Three of the four cases which were thought to be due to treatment failure were detected at the first test, in contrast to the cases which were thought to be due to re-infection, the majority of which were diagnosed at subsequent tests. Constant surveillance of the accuracy of the diagnostic methods used in the detection of gonorrhoea in women is of great importance if errors are to be reduced to a minimum.