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Sex Transm Dis. 1981 Apr-Jun;8(2):67-9.

Screening for gonorrhea in a prenatal clinic in Southeast Asia.


Screening by culture of endocervical specimens revealed four cases of gonorrhea among 744 pregnant women attending the prenatal clinic at the University Hospital in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The observed prevalence of gonorrhea (0.54%) in pregnant women is similar to that in Great Britain (0.2-0.7%), but lower than the prevalences reported for North America (2.5-7.5%) and Thailand (11.9%). The results indicate that routine screening of pregnant women attending prenatal clinics in Malaysia would aid in the control of gonorrhea in that country.


A total of 750 consecutive patients attending the prenatal clinic at the University Hospital in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, were studied. At the initial visit, an endocervical specimen was obtained on a charcoal-impregnated swab for direct plating onto modified Thayer-Martin medium. The cultures were placed in candle-extinction jars and were transported within several hours to the hospital's laboratory for sexually transmitted diseases (STD). Neisseria gonorrhea was identified by morphology, oxidase reaction, and gram stain. Identification was confirmed by sugar fermentation tests and the fluorescent antibody technique. Positive isolates were tested for beta-lactamase production by use of the rapid iodometric test. Six patients were not pregnant and were excluded from further analysis. The age range of the remaining 744 cases was 16-46 years; 81% were under 30 years of age, while 70% were either nulliparous or had fewer than three children. The racial distribution was 37% Chinese, 38% Malays, 24% Indians, and 1% other ethnic groups. All except three patients were married; of the three, one was widowed, and two were single. Most of the patients were from the lower socioeconomic groups, as expected, since the hospital is government-funded and free. Fifty-three percent were in social classes of semi-skilled and unskilled workers, 37% were in the skilled workers class and 10% were in the professional and managerial classes. Four patients had cultures positive for N. gonorrhea (prevalence, 0.54%). All four were married and denied extramarital relations. None had any complaints, and pelvic examination had revealed no abnormality. None of the isolates of N. gonorrhea produced beta-lactamase. Routine screening of pregnant women at prenatal clinics is recommended for gonorrhea prevention and treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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