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This report updates CDC’s 2002 recommendations regarding screening tests to detect Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae infections (CDC. Screening tests to detect Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae infections—2002. MMWR 2002;51[No. RR-15]) and provides new recommendations regarding optimal specimen types, the use of tests to detect rectal and oropharyngeal C. trachomatis and N. gonorrhoeae infections, and circumstances when supplemental testing is indicated. The recommendations in this report are intended for use by clinical laboratory directors, laboratory staff, clinicians, and disease control personnel who must choose among the multiple available tests, establish standard operating procedures for collecting and processing specimens, interpret test results for laboratory reporting, and counsel and treat patients.
The performance of nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) with respect to overall sensitivity, specificity, and ease of specimen transport is better than that of any of the other tests available for the diagnosis of chlamydial and gonococcal infections. Laboratories should use NAATs to detect chlamydia and gonorrhea except in cases of child sexual assault involving boys and rectal and oropharyngeal infections in prepubescent girls and when evaluating a potential gonorrhea treatment failure, in which case culture and susceptibility testing might be required. NAATs that have been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the detection of C. trachomatis and N. gonorrhoeae infections are recommended as screening or diagnostic tests because they have been evaluated in patients with and without symptoms. Maintaining the capability to culture for both N. gonorrhoeae and C. trachomatis in laboratories throughout the country is important because data are insufficient to recommend nonculture tests in cases of sexual assault in prepubescent boys and extragenital anatomic site exposure in prepubescent girls. N. gonorrhoeae culture is required to evaluate suspected cases of gonorrhea treatment failure and to monitor developing resistance to current treatment regimens. Chlamydia culture also should be maintained in some laboratories to monitor future changes in antibiotic susceptibility and to support surveillance and research activities such as detection of lymphogranuloma venereum or rare infections caused by variant or mutated C. trachomatis.
John R. Papp, PhD
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, CDC
CDC. Recommendations for the Laboratory-Based Detection of Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae — 2014. MMWR 2014;63(No. RR-2)
- Page last reviewed: March 31, 2017
- Page last updated: March 14, 2014
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