Fact Sheet: Gonorrhea – Neisseria Gonorrhoeae (Gonococcus)

Gonorrhea is a highly contagious sexually transmitted bacterial infection, sometimes referred to as the ‘clap’. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest tracking suggests that resistance went down between 2011 and 2013 to the antibiotic treatment cefixime for treating gonorrhea but it has started to climb back up in 2014. However, cefixime isn’t typically the first drug of choice for treating gonorrhea infections. The CDC’s most recent guidelines for gonorrhea treatment, issued in 2012, recommend only using cefixime when the preferred option — ceftriaxone-based combination therapy — isn’t available. However, this increase in resistance is of concern and indicates a need for ongoing vigilance in efficacy studies. Transmission Any sexually active person can get gonorrhea through unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Gonorrhea spreads through semen or vaginal fluids during unprotected sexual contact, heterosexual or homosexual, with an infected partner including touching an infected body part with fingers. Gonorrhea can be passed from a mother to her baby at birth and most commonly affects the baby’s eyes. The infection is not spread from simple kissing, sharing towels, toilet seats, etc. The incubation period is 1-14 days. Symptoms Most women with gonorrhea have no symptoms, and when they do the symptoms are often mild and may be mistaken as a bladder or vaginal infection. However, they are at risk for developing serious complications if untreated. Symptoms can include: Painful or burning sensation during urination Increase in vaginal discharge; strong smelling, may be thin and watery or thick and yellow/green Vaginal bleeding between periods Possibly some low abdominal or pelvic tenderness/pain, sometimes with nausea Men may also show no...