Changes in Chlamydia PCR Testing Effective February 1, 2000

The Clinical Microbiology Laboratory has recently adopted a new PCR-based method for direct detection of Chlamydia trachomatis from selected specimens of the genitourinary tract. When applied to suitable specimens (see below), this PCR assay has a sensitivity of >95% and a specificity of >98%. It has the added advantage of having been validated for C. trachomatis detection on first voided urine specimens from men and women. Testing with the new PCR test will become effective February 1, 2000.

Acceptable specimens for C. trachomatis testing include male urethral swabs, female endocervical swabs and male and female urine specimens. The PCR test is not intended for throat, rectal or specimen types other than those listed above. Cultures of alternative sites will continue to be offered in the Virology laboratory.

Swab specimens should be collected in the Viral/Chlamydia transport kit available from Hospital stores (MH08379). Swabs are to BE LEFT IN the transport media. Both of these items represent a change from current practice.

Urine specimens (10-50 ml) should be first catch specimens (the first part of the stream) collected in clean polypropylene containers that have no preservatives. Patients must not have urinated during the previous 2 hours.

All specimens should be transported to the laboratory on ice immediately after collection.

The test will be performed three times per week with results reported on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Test charges for C. trachomatis testing are as follows:

PCR method         C. trachomatis       $27.75

Culture method    C. trachomatis        $70.00

Because of concerns for the low specificity of the test, we will not be offering PCR testing for Neisseria Gonorrhoeae at this time.

Please contact the Clinical Virology Laboratory (4-9568) or Dr. Gary Doern (6-8616) if there are any questions.