Pathology Handbook

Chlamydia detection



Clinical Indications 

Suspected Chlamydia trachomatis infection of the genital tract or eye 

Test includes 

Detection of Chlamydia trachomatis by strand displacement amplification assay 

Request Form 

ICE request or National Chlamydia Screening Programme form where appropriate 


On request during normal working hours 

Specific Criteria 

Inadequately collected samples or samples not stored under recommended conditions (see collection below) may result in false negative results. 

This assay should not be used for the evaluation of suspected sexual abuse or other medico-legal indications. 

This assay should not be used to assess therapeutic success or failure since DNA may persist 

Turnaround Time 

Samples will be tested on the next routine working day following receipt 


Cervical and/or urethral swabs from female patients, urethral swabs from male patients. 

Urine samples can also be used for Chlamydia trachomatis detection in male patients (see collection below). 

Self-collected vulvo-vaginal swabs may be used for females. Eye swabs are also processed. 


Male and female collection kits are available for Chlamydia detection. Male collection kits may also be used for eye swabs. The swabs are available from the laboratory and can be stored for several months at room temperature. An expiry date is printed on the package - please check EVERY swab before using.

Urine samples for detection of Chlamydia trachomatis must be collected into a plain, white capped, universal bottle.  The first 15-20 mls of voided urine (not midstream urine) is required 



Samples kept at room temperature must reach the laboratory within 4 days of collection. 

Refrigerated swab samples may be processed up to 28 days after collection. 

NB When sampling for Chlamydia in the eyes, it is important to rub the swab firmly over the mucosal surface of the lower lid. If swabs for routine bacteriology are required, then these must be collected first and sent to the Laboratory in bacteriological transport media  

Urine samples

Urine samples kept at room temperature must reach the laboratory within 24 hours 

Refrigerated urine samples may be processed up to 5 days after collection 

NB The first 15-20 mls of voided urine (not midstream urine) is required 

Causes for Rejection 

Unlabelled / inadequately labelled sample
Delay in sample reaching laboratory - see above
Incorrect swab type or urine sample container received 

Lab Handling 

Samples should be processed as soon as possible