BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Noninvasive urine screening for Chlamydia trachomatis infections offers a valuable public health tool, which could be of vast importance in chlamydial control programs. The authors evaluated a new DNA amplification method, ligase chain reaction (LCR).
GOALS: The goal was to ascertain whether urine testing could be used as screening method to detect C. trachomatis infections in commercial sex workers, patients at sexually transmitted diseases clinic, and asymptomatic patients in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
METHODS: First-void urine specimens from 300 men and 300 women were tested by LCR, as well as by a commercially available enzyme immunoassay. The LCR assay amplifies specific sequences within the chlamydial plasmid with ligand-labeled probes, and the resultant amplicons are detected by an automated immunoassay. Specimens with discrepant results were confirmed by another LCR of the specimen that targeted the gene for the major outer membrane protein (OMP1).
RESULTS: There were 31 LCR-positive male urine and 37 LCR-positive female urine specimens. The resolved sensitivity and specificity for the LCR of the male urine specimens were 100% and 99.6%, respectively, whereas for female urine specimens, the sensitivity and specificity were 100% and 98.5%, respectively. After resolution of discrepant test results by OMP1 LCR, the prevalence was 10% for men and 11% for women. The urine enzyme immunoassay was not useful in diagnosing C. trachomatis infections in either men or women, as the resolved sensitivities were 10% and 15.2%, respectively. The specificities were 99.6% for men and 98.9% for women.
CONCLUSIONS: Testing first-void urine specimens by LCR is a highly sensitive and specific method to diagnose C. trachomatis infections in men and women, providing health care workers and public health officials with a new molecular amplification assay that uses noninvasive urine specimens for population-based screening purposes.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.