Effect of off-site transportation on detection of Neisseria gonorrhoeae in endocervical specimens

Peter C. Iwen, Richard A. Walker, Kathy L. Warren, Dianne M. Kelly, James Linder, Steven H. Hinrichs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objectives.-To evaluate both the effect of off-site transportation on detection of Neisseria gonorrhoeae in cultured endocervical specimens and the impact of transportation on viability of N gonorrhoeae by comparison of culture with a nucleic acid probe assay. Design.-Three endocervical swabs were randomly collected; one was tested on-site using a nucleic acid-based assay (PACE 2NG System, Gen-Probe, Inc, San Diego, Calif), one was tested off-site following inoculation to modified Thayer-Martin agar (Remel, Lenexa, Kan), and a third swab was tested on-site by culture isolation. A nucleic acid amplification assay of the original swab for PACE 2NG testing was used to resolve discrepancies. Setting.-The emergency department of a university medical center. Patients.-Four hundred two patients were evaluated. The test population consisted of both asymptomatic and symptomatic patients. Main Outcome Measure.-Positivity for N gonorrhoeae by one or more of the test procedures, with discrepancy analysis when warranted. Results.-Of 402 specimens evaluated, the sensitivities for on-site and off-site testing using culture isolation for N gonorrhoeae were 88.9% and 77.8%, respectively, in a population prevalence of 6.7%. However, the sensitivity for on-site PACE 2NG testing for N gonorrhoeae was 96.3%. Conclusions.-A decrease in sensitivity between on-site and off-site culture was found, which suggested transportation may have an adverse effect on the detection of N gonorrhoeae. However, with the limited population and prevalence, the difference was not found to be statistically significant. Further studies indicated that the nucleic acid probe assay was significantly more sensitive (P = .05) when compared with off-site testing using a culture isolation method, demonstrating that viability is an important consideration. These results suggested that a molecular probe assay should be considered in testing specimens for N gonorrhoeae, especially when the specimen is to be transported off-site.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1019-1022
Number of pages4
JournalArchives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Medical Laboratory Technology


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