Table of Contents
ISRN Obstetrics and Gynecology
Volume 2011, Article ID 279149, 17 pages
Review Article

Molecular Diagnosis of Sexually Transmitted Chlamydia trachomatis in the United States

1Department of Clinical Laboratory Science, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI 53233, USA
2Wheaton Franciscan Laboratory, 11020 West Plank Court, Suite 100, Wauwatosa, WI 53226, USA
3College of Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI 53201, USA

Received 4 March 2011; Accepted 27 April 2011

Academic Editor: E. Petru

Copyright © 2011 April L. Harkins and Erik Munson. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Chlamydia, with its Chlamydia trachomatis etiology, is the most common bacterial sexually transmitted infection in the United States and is often transmitted via asymptomatic individuals. This review summarizes traditional and molecular-based diagnostic modalities specific to C. trachomatis. Several commercially available, FDA-approved molecular methods to diagnose urogenital C. trachomatis infection include nucleic acid hybridization, signal amplification, polymerase chain reaction, strand displacement amplification, and transcription-mediated amplification. Molecular-based methods are rapid and reliable genital specimen screening measures, especially when applied to areas of high disease prevalence. However, clinical and analytical sensitivity for some commercial systems decreases dramatically when testing urine samples. In vitro experiments and clinical data suggest that transcription-mediated amplification has greater analytical sensitivity than the other molecular-based methods currently available. This difference may be further exhibited in testing of extragenital specimens from at-risk patient demographics. The development of future molecular testing could address conundrums associated with confirmatory testing, medicolegal testing, and test of cure.