Purpose: We attempted to detect Mycoplasma genitalium in urethral swab specimens by a polymerase chain reaction based assay to determine the prevalence of M. genitalium in patients with urethritis.
Materials and methods: We examined a total of 171 Japanese men who presented to our hospital from February 1995 through January 1997. Of these men 150 had symptoms and signs compatible with acute urethritis and 21 had no symptoms or signs of urethritis. Urethral swab specimens were used to culture Neisseria gonorrhoeae, to detect Chlamydia trachomatis by an enzyme immunoassay and to detect M. genitalium by a polymerase chain reaction based assay.
Results: Gonococcal urethritis was diagnosed in 74 symptomatic men, and nongonococcal urethritis was diagnosed in 76 symptomatic men. Of the 74 cases of gonococcal urethritis 3 (4.1%) were positive for M. genitalium, and 14 (18.9%) were positive for C. trachomatis. Of the 76 cases of nongonococcal urethritis 10 (13.2%) were positive for M. genitalium, and 42 (55.2%) were positive for C. trachomatis. While only 1 of the 42 cases with chlamydial nongonococcal urethritis (2.4%) was positive for M. genitalium, 9 of the 34 chlamydia negative nongonococcal urethritis cases (26.5%) were positive for the mycoplasma. In contrast, all 21 cases men were negative for N. gonorrhoeae, M. genitalium, and C. trachomatis.
Conclusions: The prevalences of M. genitalium in patients with gonococcal urethritis and nongonococcal urethritis who attended our clinic were 4.1 and 13.2%, respectively. M. genitalium was detected significantly more often in men with nongonococcal urethritis than in asymptomatic men. In addition, its prevalence in men with chlamydia negative nongonococcal urethritis (26.5%) was significantly greater than in those with chlamydia positive nongonococcal urethritis (2.4%). These findings suggest that M. genitalium may be associated with the development of nongonococcal urethritis independent of C. trachomatis.