Gonorrhea (Clap, Strain, Gleet)

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease cause by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Symptoms are primarily of discharge, but women may have no symptoms. Complications include spread of the infection to uterus, fallopian tubes, peritonitis, or invasion of the blood stream with development of skin lesions and painful, swollen joints.

Newborns may contract the bacteria during vaginal delivery and develop infection of the eyes that can lead to blindness. (Opthalmia neonaturum).

Chlamydia trachomatis infection may coexist with gonorrhea.

Where does it occur?

Worldwide.

How is it transmitted?

It is transmitted by sexual intercourse.

Is it contagious from person to person?

It is contagious from person to person.

What is the risk for travelers?

The risk is generally low unless having unprotected sex. There is a 20-50% risk of infection with a single sexual intercourse with an infected individual.

How soon after exposure will I develop symptoms?

Initial symptoms usually develop within 2-7 days but can be up to a year.

What are the signs and symptoms?

In men symptoms are of clear to pale discharge that turns into pus like discharge with burning on urination. Women develop symptoms of vaginal discharge, bleeding after sex, burning with urination, etc. If infection spreads to other pelvic organs one sees lower abdominal pain and fever. The infection can spread to the liver with development of abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and jaundice.

In cases where the bacteria spread to the blood stream, one can see infections of the joints with pain and swelling. One can also develop small blisters on the skin that are filled with pus.

Opthalmia neonaturum develop 2-7 days after birth with swollen eyelids, pink eye and pus like drainage from the eyes.

Are there any lab tests to diagnose the illness?

Bacteria can be cultured from genital secretions. Urine DFA probes are also available.

Is there any treatment?

Antibiotics like Rocephin are effective. There is increasing resistance to antibiotics in the fluoroquinolone family like ciprofloxacin.

What preventive measures can be taken?

Avoid sex with individuals you do not know. Condoms and spermicidal gels are not 100% protective.

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