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Diagnosis of Chlamydia trachomatis Infections by Direct Immunofluorescence Staining of Genital Secretions: A Multicenter Trial

WALTER E. STAMM, M.D.; ROBERT H. HARRISON, D. Phil., M.D., M.P.H.; E. RUSSELL ALEXANDER, M.D.; LINDA D. CLES, B.S.; MICHAEL R. SPENCE, M.D., M.P.H.; and THOMAS C. QUINN, M.D.
[+] Article and Author Information

Grant support: in part by grant A1 12192 from the National Institutes of Health, and a grant from SYVA Corporation. Palo Alto, California.

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Walter E. Stamm, M.D.; Department of Medicine, Harborview Medical Center, 325 9th Avenue 2A-89; Seattle, WA 98104.


Seattle, Washington; Tucson, Arizona; and Baltimore and Bethesda, Maryland


©1984 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1984;101(5):638-641. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-101-5-638
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Because few clinicians have access to laboratories offering cell culture confirmation of suspected Chlamydia trachomatis genital infections, we evaluated a diagnostic method in which fluorescein-conjugated monoclonal antibodies were used to directly identify C. trachomatis elementary bodies in slides made from genital secretions. Compared with culture results, the direct smear had a sensitivity of 92% and a specificity of 96% in 576 men, most of whom had symptoms and signs of urethritis. Among 595 women attending the same clinics, sensitivity of the direct smear for cervical infection was 89% and specificity was 99%. In 225 pregnant women screened in a prenatal or abortion clinic, the sensitivity and specificity of the test were 86% and 99% respectively. Direct detection of elementary bodies in genital smears offers an alternative diagnostic approach for C. trachomatis infections.

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