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NC Department of Health and Human Services
State Laboratory of Public Health
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Microbiology: Bacterial STD


Syphilis, a disease caused by infection with the bacterium  Treponema pallidum , can be readily diagnosed by serologic methods. Serologic assays used to screen patients for syphilis are nontreponemal tests. The nontreponemal test performed in this laboratory is the Rapid Plasma Reagin (RPR). Confirmation of reactive screening test results (RPR) is obtained through the use of specific treponemal tests for syphilis. The SYPHILIS TP CMIA, which detects both IgM and IgG antibodies to T. pallidum, is performed in this laboratory to confirm syphilis screening test results when appropriate.

For specimen submission and shipping guidance, refer to our SCOPE.


Chlamydia are nonmotile, gram-negative, obligate intracellular bacteria.  C. trachomatis  can cause assorted urogenital infections in addition to asymptomatic infection, which if undiagnosed could lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), ectopic pregnancy, and infertility in women. Children born to infected mothers are at significantly higher risk for inclusion conjunctivitis and chlamydial pneumonia.

Neisseria gonorrhoeae  is the causative agent of gonorrheal disease.  N. gonorrhoeae  are nonmotile, gram-negative diplococci. The majority of gonorrheal infections are uncomplicated lower genital tract infections and may be asymptomatic. However, if left untreated in women, infections can ascend and cause PID. A smaller percentage of persons with gonococcal infections may develop Disseminated Gonococcal Infection (DGI).

Please call the Bacteriology Supervisor at 919-807-8793 for guidance related to the collection and submission of specimens to CDC for cases of suspected lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV).

For specimen submission and shipping guidance, refer to our SCOPE.

Please feel free to contact BSTD Supervisor Heather White at (919) 807-8865, , if you have further questions or are in need of assistance.

SLPH Microbiology Information