Comparison of microscopy, culture and in-house PCR and NASBA assays for diagnosis of Neisseria gonorrhoeae in Russia.

Research paper by Elena E Shipitsyna, Alexander A Guschin, Anna A Maximova, Mariya M Tseslyuk, Alevtina A Savicheva, Evgenij E Sokolovsky, German G Shipulin, Marius M Domeika, Magnus M Unemo

Indexed on: 07 Mar '08Published on: 07 Mar '08Published in: APMIS


This study aimed to assess the laboratory diagnosis of Neisseria gonorrhoeae in St. Petersburg, Russia. In total, 334 consecutive symptomatic patients were enrolled. Cervical and urethral specimens from women (n=286) and urethral specimens from men (n=48) were analyzed by microscopy, culture and two in-house NAATs, i.e. polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and nucleic acid sequence-based amplification (NASBA), developed in Russia. All N. gonorrhoeae-positive samples were confirmed using porA pseudogene and 16S rRNA gene sequencing. All methods displayed 100% specificity, i.e. positive predictive values of 100%. Compared to the PCR (most sensitive method in the present study), in women the sensitivity of both microscopy and culture was 31.8%, and that of NASBA was 90.9%. In men, microscopy, culture and NASBA displayed a sensitivity of 75%, 50% and 100%, respectively. The negative predictive values of microscopy, culture, and NASBA were 97.3%, 97.3%, and 99.6% in women, and 97.8%, 95.7%, and 100% in men, respectively. According to the PCR, the prevalences of N. gonorrhoeae were 4.5% (women) and 8.3% (men). In conclusion, both the investigated Russian NAATs displayed a high sensitivity and specificity. However, in general the diagnosis of gonorrhoea in Russia is suboptimal and crucially requires validation, improvements and quality assurance.

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