The bacterium that causes gonorrhea is Neisseria gonorrhoeae,a nonmotile, Gram-negative diplococcus typically found intracellularly within the neutrophils in the purulent discharge of patients who have gonococcal urethritis or cervicitis.

During the past 20 years, the number of cases of gonorrhea reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has declined dramatically. The reported rate in 1975 was 468 cases per 100,000 persons, which declined to 168 cases in 1994 and 150 cases in 1995. Unfortunately, the rate of decline among adolescents has been less dramatic than among older adults, leaving adolescents and young adults between the ages of 15 and 24 years with the highest incidence of disease. Sexual transmission remains the most important means by which gonorrhea is spread. With the risk of transmission estimated to be 20% to 50% per contact,spread is more efficient if the source is an infected male rather than an infected...

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