Introduction of vaginal specimen collection devices with the option of self-collection for the investigation of suspected Chlamydia trachomatis/Neisseria gonorrhoeae infection

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The National Virus Reference Laboratory is introducing a vaginal specimen collection device (SCD) for use with the Gen-Probe Tigris system for the investigation of suspected Chlamydia trachomatis/Neisseria gonorrhoeae infection.  The vaginal SCD will be provided as an addition to – rather than a replacement for – the current unisex/endocervical SCD.

There are two main reasons for the introduction of this novel SCD.  Firstly, vaginal swabs are recommended in BASHH and IUSTI (Europe) Guidelines as the specimen of choice for the diagnosis of CT/NG infection in women (particularly in those not undergoing a speculum examination); and secondly, vaginal swabs increase the convenience of CT/NG testing as they can be either taken by a clinician or self-taken by the patient.  Incidentally, if you are intending to encourage self-taken vaginal swabs among your patients, strict adherence to the enclosed patient information sheet is essential.

Following specimen collection, the vaginal SCDs (like the unisex/endocervical SCD) are stable at room temperature for 60 days.  Vaginal SCDs are now available from the NVRL and may be ordered in the usual way by emailing or faxing (01) 269 7611 and stating the type and quantity of SCD required along with name and address of the requestor. 

Please note that whilst urine remains the specimen of choice when investigating men for Chlamydia trachomatis/Neisseria gonorrhoeae, this is not the case in women as the sensitivity of urine testing by NAATs is lower than vaginal or endocervical swabs

If you have any queries in relation to the above, or any difficilties with the new SCD, please don’t hesitate to contact the laboratory.