In a study to quantify epidemiological treatment given to female contracts for gonorrhoea and non-specific genital infection in STD clinics in England and Wales two-thirds of women treated for gonorrhoea during 1978 were named contacts, a quarter of whom received epidemiological treatment. Only 35% of cases treated in this way were subsequently confirmed microbiologically, but nearly 1000 unconfirmed cases were returned as if they were true cases of gonorrhoea. In view of modern culture techniques and the low default rates found in this study, there seems to be little justification for the use of epidemiological treatment for gonorrhoea. Of women who gave a history of exposure to non-specific urethritis, 86% received epidemiological treatment. The variation in diagnostic and notification criteria for non-specific genital infection results in virtually worthless statistics for female cases treated.
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