Specimens from 95 patients attending a venereal diseases clinic were examined for gonococci by three methods--a conventional culture technique using modified Thayer-Martin medium, microscopy of a Gram-stained direct smear, and the Microcult system. For 56% of the specimens the results by all three methods agreed. Assuming the results obtained by culture on Thayer-Martin medium to be correct, the largest source of error was due to false-positive results: microscopy gave 26 and Microcult gave 15 such results. False-negative results were less common: Microcult gave 14, microscopy six. Microcult gave positive results more quickly than the conventional Thayer-Martin cultural method, but the gonococci were difficult to isolate by subculture from the Microcult culture pads. The Microcult medium was not absolutely specific for Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Nevertheless, the Microcult test may well prove to be a useful adjunct to the diagnosis of gonorrhoea, especially when laboratory facilities are not readily available.
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