​​Neisseria gonorrhoea​​e Testing Laboratory

Lab​oratory Lead Sc​ientist

The Neisseria gonorrhoeae laboratory will perform testing of both genital and extra-genital (rectal, pharyngeal, eye) isolates, as well as isolates from disseminated gonococcal infections (synovial fluid, blood, tissue, and other sterile bod​y sites). N. gonorrhoeae isolates must be submitted on appropriate culture media (chocolate agar or Modified Thayer Martin) or frozen in cryovial freezing solution with 15-20% glycerol. A Maryland Dept. of Health Infectious Agent: Culture Detection request (form 4676) must be completed by a licensed healthcare provider. An online fil​lable version of form 4676 (plus instructions) can be found on the Maryland Dept. of Health, Laboratories Administrations website (https://health.maryland.gov/laboratories/Pages/home.aspx). Both the form and the specimen must have 2 unique, matching patient identifiers (frequently first and last name plus date of birth).
Submitted isolates will have their identification confirmed by MALDI-TOF, Gram stain and oxidase testing. Additionally, confirmatory biochemical testing will be performed for specimens from children 13 years and younger. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) will be performed on all confirmed isolates using the E-test for ciprofloxacin, cefixime, ceftriaxone, and azithromycin. AST results will be reported to the submitter. Any isolate found to be resistant to either of the cephalosporins will be sent for Whole Genome Sequencing and Maryland SDI and the CDC alerted for further investigation.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Can we submit a specimen on a plate of expired media?
The collection of the specimen must be before or on the day of expiration of the media to ensure optimal recovery and to be compliant with CLIA and CAP regulations.

  • We missed the courier. Is it okay to still send the specimen?
The lab must receive the specimen within 4 days of collection; however, receipt within 48 hours is preferable as older specimens suffer from rapidly deteriorate and isolate viability becomes compromised. If collected in Amies, we must receive the specimen within 24 hours.

  • Do we have to use a CO2 tablet?
Maintaining a 5% CO2 atmosphere is critical to maintain viability. If you are having problems with supplies (MTM media or CO2 tablets) or need an InTray transport device, contact the lab for assistance (443-681-2952). Appropriate supplies will be shipped to you via courier or FedEx.​