Causative Agent

Gonorrhea is caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the gonococcus, a Gram-negative diplococcus that can be cultivated on choco

White blood cell

Neisseria gonorrhoeae

15 mm

Figure 25.8 Appearance of Neisseria gonorrhoeae in Pus from the Urethra

White blood cell

Neisseria gonorrhoeae

15 mm

Figure 25.8 Appearance of Neisseria gonorrhoeae in Pus from the Urethra

Figure 25.9 Electron Micrograph of Neisseria gonorrhoeae Showing Pili

Figure 25.9 Electron Micrograph of Neisseria gonorrhoeae Showing Pili late agar medium. The organisms are typically found on and within the leukocytes in urethral pus (figure 25.8). Gonococci are parasites of humans only, preferring to live on the mucous membranes of their host. Most strains are susceptible to cold and drying and, hence, do not survive well outside the host. For this reason, gonorrhea is transmitted primarily by direct contact, and since the bacteria mainly live in the genital tract, this contact is almost always sexual. An increasing percentage of strains contain R plasmids that render them resistant to antibiotics such as penicillin and tetracycline. ■ chocolate agar, p. 92 ■ R plasmids, p. 210

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