Instituto Nacional de Saúde Dr. Ricardo Jorge
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 Sexually Transmitted Diseases


National Reference Laboratory for Bacterial Sexually Transmitted Infections

Sexually transmitted infections (STI) pass during sexual intercourse, due to vaginal, penis, mouth or anal mucosal contact. The skin around the genitals, the blood, the semen and other body fluids can also be infected by the microorganisms (bacteria, virus or parasites) that cause STI.

The National Reference Laboratory for STI provides specialized laboratory diagnosis, referral, monitoring and research on bacterial (Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Treponema palllidum), and viral (HIV, Hepatitis B/C and HPV, HSV2) STI.

The bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Treponema pallidum are responsible for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). C. trachomatis is the most common bacterial STI in the world. These STIs are often asymptomatic (especially C. trachomatis) yielding the lack of their diagnosis and appropriate treatment. When this happens, they can progress to serious clinical sequelae, such as female infertility (for C. trachomatis and N. gonorrhoeae), fetal death and heart and / or neurological damage (for T. pallidum).

The National Reference Laboratory for Bacterial Sexually Transmitted Infections of the Department of Infectious Diseases at the Portuguese NIH, whose head is the national STI microbiologist for the ECDC, is dedicated to the study of strains of C. trachomatis, N. gonorrhoeae, and T. pallidum that infect the Portuguese population. In this context, molecular and phenotypic characterization of Portuguese strains has been performed. In the research area, studies have been conducted at the genomic and gene expression level, contributing to a better understanding of the evolution and virulence of these pathogens. Recently, these studies were extended to Streptococcus agalactiae, given the clinical importance of the possible vertical transmission during childbirth. 

 Additionally, other surveillance studies are being undertaken, focused on urogenital mycoplasmas (Mycoplasma hominis, M. genitalium and Ureaplasma urealyticum) and Haemophilus ducreyi.  


Inclusões de Chlamydia trachomatis


Treponema pallidum


Neisseria gonorrhoeae

Chlamydia trachomatis

 Treponema pallidum

 Neisseria gonorrhoeae


  • Maria José Borrego, PhD, Head of the laboratory
  • João Paulo Gomes, Research Unit
  • Maria Arminda Ferreira, Technician
  • Albertina Paulino, Technician
  • Alexandra Nunes, PhD student
  • Carlos Florindo, PhD student
  • Vítor Borges, Research fellowship
  • Rita Ferreira, Research fellowship