Detection of male genital infection with Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae using an automated multiplex PCR system (Cobas Amplicor)

Int J STD AIDS. 1998 Jan;9(1):21-4. doi: 10.1258/0956462981921594.


We evaluated Cobas Amplicor, a highly automated polymerase chain reaction (PCR) system, to test first-void urine (FVU) and urethral swab specimens for Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae in men attending a sexually transmitted infection (STI) clinic. Results were compared against an in-house radioimmune dot blot (DB) test for C. trachomatis and selective culture for N. gonorrhoeae. Three hundred and ninety sets of specimens were obtained from 378 consecutive new and returned-new patients. Gonorrhoea prevalence was 9.49%, with no significant difference in sensitivity or specificity between culture and PCR. Chlamydia prevalence was 15.4%, with sensitivities of: DB 55%, PCR of FVU 86.7%, urethral swab PCR 90%. The specificity of PCR on FVU and urethral swabs was 100%. We have shown that Cobas Amplicor PCR is highly sensitive and specific in the diagnosis of chlamydia and gonorrhoea in men attending an STI clinic. Further economic and scientific studies are needed to determine the cost-effectiveness of this technique for screening in primary care settings.

MeSH terms

  • Automation
  • Chlamydia Infections / microbiology*
  • Chlamydia Infections / pathology
  • Chlamydia Infections / urine
  • Chlamydia trachomatis / genetics
  • Chlamydia trachomatis / isolation & purification*
  • Genital Diseases, Male / diagnosis*
  • Genital Diseases, Male / microbiology
  • Genital Diseases, Male / pathology
  • Genital Diseases, Male / urine
  • Gonorrhea / microbiology*
  • Gonorrhea / pathology
  • Gonorrhea / urine
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / genetics
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / isolation & purification*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*