Although culture of Trichomonas vaginalis is more sensitive than wet mounts in the diagnosis of trichomoniasis, the lack of convenience of culture prevents it from being widely used. To improve the acceptability of diagnosis by culture, a plastic envelope method (PEM) was devised. PEM permits both immediate examination and culture in one self-contained system. The medium consists of dry ingredients that are reconstituted with water before use. The effectiveness of immediate examinations by PEM was compared with that of wet mounts, and the effectiveness of culture by PEM was compared with that of culture in Trichomonas Medium No. 2 (Oxoid). Of 710 vaginal secretion specimens from symptomatic and asymptomatic women that were tested by the four methods, 62 (9%) were positive for T. vaginalis. The sensitivity was 66% by wet mount, 66% by immediate examination by PEM, 89% by cultures in Oxoid medium, and 97% by culture by PEM. The two culture methods had equivalent sensitivities but were significantly (P less than 0.0001) more sensitive than the two immediate methods. The combined immediate examination by PEM plus culture was more convenient to use than wet mounts plus culture in Oxoid medium. The long shelf-life of PEM's dry medium and its anticipated low cost are additional advantages
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