I C G -- International Collaboration on Gonococci


Gonorrhea is caused by the human pathogen Neisseria gonorrhoeae. It remains one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases (STD) worldwide with more than 62 million new cases each year (WHO, 2002).
The primary gonococcal infection results in acute urethritis (image courtesy by Weiming Gu) in males, characterized by purulent discharge and painful urination.  In females, the primary infection causes cervicitis. These urogenital infections can be asymptomatic or have non-specific clinical presentations, giving rise to misdiagnosis and delay of treatment, thus facilitating spread of the pathogen. If left untreated, gonorrhea can cause complications including epididymitis in males and pelvic inflammatory disease in females. Gonococcal conjunctivitis may occur in newborns after inoculation in the birth canal of infected mothers. Rarer complications include blood-borne infection resulting in arthralgia (joint pain) or arthritis, endocarditis, or meningitis in both men and women. Gonorrhea is transmitted by sexual contacts. The incubation period is 1-14 days after sexual contact, on average 2-5 days.