Background Near-patient microscopy (NPM) has poor sensitivity in the identification of GC in women, with NPM of urethral (Ur) smears no longer recommended by BASHH.
Aim To review the diagnosis of GC in women attending a London SHC and assess the relative merits of NPM, culture and Nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) in detecting GC.
Method Female GC diagnoses from 1 January 2008 to 30 June 2011 were identified from the GU Medicine Clinic Activity Dataset and case notes reviewed. The results and sites of GC tests taken, were recorded. Slides stated as “suspicious” for GC on NPM were counted as positive. GC was cultured on selective medium. The Beckton Dickinson Probe Tec Strand Displacement Assay (dual NAAT for GC/CT) was used for endocervical (Cx) specimens from 22 June 2009.
Results Notes were available in 334/369 (91%) of cases (317 women): median age 20 years (range 13–53); 92/334 (28%) White British; 87/334 (26%) Black Caribbean; 219/313 (70%) symptomatic; 160/321 (50%) had a previous STI; 42/317 (13%) had a history of GC; 58/334 (17%) were GC contacts. 289 cases had Ur/Cx cultures taken: 30 (10%) were positive on Ur culture; 148 (51%) on Ur and Cx culture; 88 (30%) on Cx culture. 11/142 (8%) Cx NAATs performed were negative for GC: 6/11 were positive on Ur culture; 5/11 on pharyngeal culture/NAAT; 1/11 on Cx culture. 104/125 (83%) with positive Cx NAATs were positive on Cx culture. 42 were diagnosed with GC on vaginal NAATs. 135/330 (41%) were also diagnosed with Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) (see abstract P73 table 1).
Conclusion Cx NAAT was more sensitive than culture in detecting GC; supplementing Cx NAAT with Ur culture will reduce the potential for missed cases. Our data shows a poor sensitivity of Ur and Cx NPM for the detection of GC in women, highlighting a need to perform targeted training, review the criteria for NPM and develop additional point of care tests for GC.
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