Different brands of vaginal tampons varied significantly (p less than 0.0001) in their anti-bacterial effects when tested with 46 strains of Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Gonococcal strains recovered from patients with disseminated infections were substantially more sensitive to the anti-bacterial effects of tampons than were strains from patients with uncomplicated genital infections. Strains from patients with pelvic inflammatory disease were moderately sensitive. Tampons showing strong in-vitro antigonococcal effects were also generally effective in vivo in eliminating gonococcal infections from subcutaneous chambers in mice. Extracts of the Rely tampon showed no in-vitro antigonococcal effect, however, but did induce antibacterial activity when injected into subcutaneous chambers in mice. These results emphasise the importance of both in-vitro as well as in-vivo testing of tampon materials to elucidate more fully the nature of their antibacterial effects and their potential for affecting vaginal pathogens and disease processes.
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