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Neisseria gonorrhoeae is a gram-negative diplococcus that is oxidase-positive and produces beta-lactamase. (1) This quality differentiates it from other species of Neisseria because it requires iron for growth and can metabolize only glucose, lactate, and pyruvate. It is nonmotile and does not produce spores. There are at least 70 different strains, characterized by the absence or presence of pili, opacity of colonies, auxotyping (nutritional requirements), serotyping, and genotyping. (2) Only humans have been reported to be infected by N gonorrhoeae.

Gonococcal infections tend to be associated with the acute onset of symptoms and purulent mucosal drainage due to the organism's ability to recruit polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs). Piliated strains increase adherence and virulence of such organisms by enhancing their attachments to human cells (including sperm). Opacity-associated proteins also affect virulence by enhancing gonococcal adherence to host cells....

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