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Euro Surveill. 2007 Apr 1;12(4):E5-6.

Experiences with the new genetic variant of Chlamydia trachomatis in Orebro county, Sweden - proportion, characteristics and effective diagnostic solution in an emergent situation.

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Department of Clinical Microbiology, Orebro University Hospital, Orebro, Sweden.


A Chlamydia trachomatis variant that contains a 377 bp deletion in the cryptic plasmid was recently reported in Sweden. This deletion includes the targets for Cobas Amplicor, Cobas TaqMan48, and Abbott m2000. We examined the proportion and characteristics of this variant in Orebro county, Sweden and developed an effective diagnostic solution. In total, 2,401 consecutive C. trachomatis culture samples and 536 PCR samples from symptomatic and asymptomatic patients and screened females were included. Culture, Cobas Amplicor, and LightMix 480HT were used for diagnosis. A mutant-specific PCR, plasmid sequencing, omp1 sequencing and multilocus sequence typing (MLST) were used to identify and characterise mutants. In total, 162 (6.7%) of the cultured samples were positive for C. trachomatis. However, 61 (38%) of those were negative when using Cobas Amplicor, and 60 of these were subsequently confirmed as the new variant. 13 of these mutant isolates were further characterised genetically, and all were of identical genotype E and the unique MLST sequence type: 21, 19, 1, 2, 1. Of all culture-positive samples, 161 of 162 were positive in the LightMix 480HT assay. The single negative sample was only weakly positive in culture, and negative in all PCRs. Of the 536 PCR samples, 37 were positive in both Cobas Amplicor and LightMix 480HT, 13 were only positive in LightMix 480HT (mutants), and two were only positive in Cobas Amplicor. Mutated C. trachomatis were prevalent in Orebro county in the period from October 2006 to February 2007, and it appeared to be a single clone. LightMix 480HT seemed sensitive, specific, and enabled high throughput diagnostics. However, rare low positive samples may be false-negative. Frequent surveillance and evaluations of diagnostic methods worldwide are crucial.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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