AIM: To investigate the value of RNA detection by nucleic acid sequence based amplification (NASBA) for the monitoring of Chlamydia trachomatis infections after antibiotic treatment. METHODS: Cervical smears (n = 97) and urine specimens (n = 61) from 25 C trachomatis positive female patients were analysed for the presence of C trachomatis 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) by NASBA and C trachomatis plasmid DNA by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) before and up to five weeks after antibiotic treatment. RESULTS: Chlamydia trachomatis RNA was found in all cervical smears taken before antibiotic treatment (n = 24) and in two smears taken one week after antibiotic treatment; no C trachomatis RNA was detected after two weeks or more. In contrast, C trachomatis DNA was found in all such specimens before treatment, and 21 of 25, six of 21, and five of 20 smears were found to be positive at one, two, and three weeks after treatment, respectively. After four weeks, only one of six smears was positive, and this smear had been negative in the two preceding weeks. Of the 61 urine samples investigated, C trachomatis DNA and C trachomatis RNA were found in all before treatment (n = 15), whereas one week after treatment four of 15 were C trachomatis DNA positive and C trachomatis RNA was detected in one sample only. CONCLUSIONS: These data show that RNA detection by NASBA can be used successfully to monitor C trachomatis infections after antibiotic treatment. Furthermore, it might be possible to use urine specimens as a test of cure because neither C. trachomatis DNA or RNA could be detected two weeks or more after treatment.
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