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Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection of the mucous membranes of the genitourinary tract that is caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae, a Gram-negative diplococcus that is transmitted almost exclusively by sexual contact. The gonococcus causes urethritis, cervicitis, and salpingitis in females and urethritis and epididymitis in males. Anorectal infection also occurs, and orogenital exposure may lead to pharyngitis. An“arthritis-dermatitis” syndrome may occur as a result of disseminated infection. Sexually abused female children may present with vulvovaginitis. Newborns may acquire the organism during delivery through an infected birth canal, leading to neonatal conjunctivitis.

The incidence of gonorrhea in the United States has been declining since 1980. A peak incidence in modern times of 468 cases per 100,000 population occurred in 1975. In 1995, the overall rate was 150 cases per 100,000 population. Currently, some of the highest rates of gonorrhea are among adolescents....

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