Are we satisfied with the tools for the diagnosis of gonococcal infection in females?

Wen Hsiang Su, Tsung Shan Tsou, Chien Sheng Chen, Tien Yu Ho, Wen Ling Lee, Yuan Yi Yu, Tien Jui Chen, Chia Hsuan Tan, Peng Hui Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Gonorrhea (Neisseria gonorrhoeae) is a common sexually transmitted infection in women, with a heavy burden on female and neonatal health, because sequelae occur, such as female infertility, ectopic pregnancy, neonatal ophthalmitis and infection, and chronic pelvic pain. Prompt and appropriate antibiotic treatment can cure infection and avoid complications. However, adequate treatment is not easy, because early and rapid identification of gonorrhea is interfered with by many factors, including the complicated mixed microflora of the vagina and cervix, non-user-friendly culture systems, and lack of immediate availability of results, even with a combination of subjective complaint and high clinical suspicion. A PubMed search was conducted using the major headings of " gonorrhoea and diagnostic tool" and " Neisseria gonorrhoeae and diagnostic tool" , before the end of 2010. Recently available methods for the diagnosis of gonorrhea infection in women were included, including traditional tools and advanced technology. Traditional tools such as microscopic examination and microbial culture have been used broadly; unfortunately, they have relatively lower specificity or sensitivity, and most importantly, " see-and-treat" is impossible for these infected women. Advances in technology, such as antigen detection by immunoassay and nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs), have achieved major progress in the diagnosis of gonorrhea, because of their accuracy, convenience and time-saving aspects. However, NAATs are expensive, making their acceptance impossible in developing countries. Detection of pathogens including N. gonorrheae using microarray chips is viewed as a possible solution, because it is a relatively rapid, easy, inexpensive and sensitive tool, which makes an " identify-and-treat" or point-of-care policy possible. A rapid and affordable tool with high sensitivity and specificity for detection of gonorrhea in developing countries is still not available at the time of writing. To make a point-of-care policy possible, advanced technology for aiding diagnosis of gonorrhea is encouraged and appreciated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)430-434
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the Chinese Medical Association
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Oct

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


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