Clinical and Microscopic Signs of Cervicitis and Urethritis: Correlation with Chlamydia trachomatis Infection in Female STI Patients
Matilda Berntsson, Petra Tunbäck
Chlamydia trachomatis is among the most prevalent genital infections and is an important cause of tubal factor infertility. The majority of infected females are asymptomatic. Evidence on the reliability of signs of inflammation used to predict chlamydia in female patients is inconsistent. This study examined associations between criteria routinely used in many Scandinavian sexually transmitted infection (STI) clinics and a positive chlamydia test in a high-prevalence population. Clinical and microscopic signs of cervicitis and urethritis were recorded in 99 women attending due to chlamydia infection in a sexual partner. Mucopurulent cervical discharge, easily induced bleeding from the cervix, and more polymorpho-nuclear cells than epithelial cells in vaginal wet smear all correlated significantly with a positive Chlamydia trachomatis test (odds ratios: 3.4, 4.0 and 4.8, respectively). Increased numbers of polymorphonuclear leucocytes (> 30 and ≥ 5, respectively) in stained cervical and urethral smears were not significantly correlated with chlamydia infection. Hence, routine collection of cervical and urethral smears in female STI patients is questionable.