Chlamydia trachomatis bacterial load, estimated by Cq values, in urogenital samples from men and women visiting the general practice, hospital or STI clinic

Julien N. A. P. Wijers*, Christian J. P. A. Hoebe, Genevieve A. F. S. van Liere, Petra F. G. Wolffs, Nicole H. T. M. Dukers-Muijrers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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The bacterial load of Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) is assumed to play a role in transmission and sequelae. We assessed urogenital CT cycle quantification (Cq) values, as an indicator for CT load, of men and women diagnosed by general practitioners (GPs), hospital physicians and the STI clinic.


Urogenital CT-positive samples (n = 2,055 vaginal swabs, n = 77 cervical swabs, n = 1,519 urine samples and n = 19 urethral swabs) diagnosed by GPs, hospital physicians and the STI clinic from the Maastricht Medical Microbiology Laboratory were included (2012-2016). The outcome measure 'urogenital Cq values' was used as an inversely proportional measure for CT load. Among all patients, multivariate linear regression analyses were used to assess primary determinants for mean urogenital Cq values, stratified by sex. Additional clinical determinants were assessed among STI clinic patients.


In men, mean urogenital Cq values were similar between GPs, hospital physicians and the STI clinic (32.7 and 33.5 vs. 32.7; p>0.05). Women visiting the GP had lower urogenital Cq values than women visiting the STI clinic (30.2 vs. 30.9; p =


Men visiting different STI care providers had similar urogenital Cq values, which could be an indicator for similar CT loads. The lower Cq values of women visiting the GP compared to women visiting the STI clinic could be an indicator for higher CT loads and likely higher transmission potential. Notably, urogenital Cq values of STI clinic women were much lower (>3 Cq) when STI clinic women also had anorectal CT. This finding could indicate higher urogenital CT loads and likely higher chances of transmission and sequelae.

Original languageEnglish
Article number0215606
Number of pages14
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 19 Apr 2019


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