Larsen, Sandra A. Sexually Transmitted Disease Laboratory Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia.
Morse, Stephen A. Division of Sexually Transmitted Diseases Laboratory Research, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia.
- Control and prevention
- Clinical aspects
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
A common sexually transmitted disease caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Gonococci are gram-negative microorganisms that usually appear as pairs (diplococci). Humans are the only natural hosts for N. gonorrhoeae, which directly infects the epithelium of the mucous membranes of the human genital tract, pharynx, rectum, or conjunctiva. Local epithelial cell destruction usually occurs, but the organisms may spread to adjacent organs or disseminate via the bloodstream. In women, local complications include inflammation of the uterine lining (endometritis), inflammation of the fallopian tube (salpingitis), inflammation of the abdominal wall (peritonitis), and inflammation of Bartholin's glands (bartholinitis); in men, periurethral abscess and inflammation of a duct connected to the testes (epididymitis). Systemic manifestations such as arthritis or dermatitis may develop, and rarely endocarditis or meningitis.
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