What kind of bacteria is Neisseria gonorrhea?

Neisseria Gonorrhea belongs to the family of Neisseriaceae. The genus Neisseria contains two important human pathogens, N. gonorrhea and N. meningitidis. N. gonorrhea causes a sexually transmitted disease called gonorrhea, which has a high prevalence and low mortality. N. meningitides causes meningoccocal meningitis, a disease with low prevalence and high mortality.

Neisseria Gonorrhea is also known as gonococci. It is a Gram – negative bacteria, 0.6 to 1.0 µm in diameter. It was first discovered and described by Albert Neisser in 1879.

Neisseria gonorrhea is a coffee bean shaped diplococci, requiring nutrient supplementations, like carbon dioxide and chocolate agar to grow in laboratory cultures. They usually appear in pairs and are facultatively intracellular bacteria.

Neisseria gonorrhea possesses a typical Gram-negative outer membrane composed of proteins, phospholipids, and lipopolysaccharide (LPS).

  1. gonorrhea is a motile bacterium, which adhere to the surfaces with the help of type IV pili. The type IV pili extend and attach to a substrate that signals the pilus to retract, dragging the cell forward. N. gonorrhea is able to pull own weight 100,000 times.

It is a relatively fragile bacterium, and is susceptible to temperature changes, drying, UV light, and some other environmental conditions.

  1. gonorrhea has surface proteins called Opa proteins, which bind to receptors on immune cells. They are able to produce one or several Opa proteins. These proteins are subject to phase variation and are usually found on cells from colonies. They possess a unique opaque phenotype called O+. At any time N. gonorrhea may express zero, one, or several different Opa proteins. Permutations of these Opa surface proteins make it more difficult for immune cells to recognize N. gonorrhea and protect the body from these bacteria. N. gonorrhea is also able to alter the antigenic determinants such as Opa proteins of the surface or the type IV pilli who help the bacteria to adhere to the surface.

Neisseria gonorrhea has a circular DNA genome.  These bacteria are able to conjugate, which is very dangerous and can lead to antibiotic resistance. They are naturally competent for DNA transformation, which allows for the DNA of N. gonorrhea to acquire or spread new genes.

The bacteria bind only human lactoferrin and transferrin, which is the thought to be the specific reason why these bacteria are exclusively human pathogens.

P.I (Por), in the outer membrane of the bacterium is thought to help invasion in the humab body, P.I mediates the penetration of a host cell. Each N. gonorrhea strain expresses only one type of Por, even though there are several variations of Por.

Rmp (P.III) is an outer membrane protein found in all strains of N. gonorrhoeae. It does not undergo antigenic variation and is found in a complex with Por and LOS.

What is Gonorrhea?

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease. Both men and women are affected, usually the ones who have unprotected sexual intercourse and multiple partners. Gonorrhea may also be spread from the mother to the child during pregnancy and childbirth. It is caused by Neisseria gonorrhea, gram – negative cocci usually found in pairs.

How is Gonorrhea transmitted?

The disease is transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse.

What are the signs and symptoms of gonorrhea?

Signs and symptoms of gonorrhea in women include a discharge from the vagina which could be greenish, yellow or whitish, pelvic pain, lower abdominal pain, bleeding between periods, spotting after intercourse, vulvitis, burning during urination and painful urination, burning of the throat and swollen glands in the throat due to oral sex, conjunctivitis, etc.

Signs and symptoms of gonorrhea in men include a discharge from the penis which could be greenish, yellow or whitish, burning sensation during urination, painful urination, painful and swollen testicles, burning and swollen glands in the throat due to oral sex.

Neisseria Gonorrhea

How is gonorrhea diagnosed?

Gonorrhea is diagnosed through samples which are taken from the cervix in women and from urethra in men. Throat and anal samples could also be taken, if there is a possibility of throat and anus infection.

Gonorrhea often occurs together with Chlamydia, so there is a chance that you will be tested for both sexually transmitted diseases.

How is gonorrhea treated?

Gonorrhea can be treated. Oral or intramuscular antibiotics are administrated. It is very important to treat both partners at the same time, because if one partner is left untreated, reinfection will occur. Untreated gonorrhea can cause serious and permanent problems in both women and men.

In women, if left untreated, the infection can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, which may damage the fallopian tubes, and lead to infertility. Untreated gonorrhea infection increases the risk of ectopic pregnancy. This is a dangerous condition for both mother and baby. During pregnancy and childbirth, the fetus can get infected with gonorrhea.

In men, gonorrhea can cause epididymitis, and even lead to infertility. Without a good treatment, gonorrhea can also affect the prostate, leading to scarring tissue inside the urethra, making urination very difficult.

Gonorrhea can also spread to the blood or joints, a condition which can be even life-threatening. People with gonorrhea can more easily get infected with HIV virus.

Can gonorrhea be prevented?

Yes, gonorrhea can be prevented. Safe sexual intercourse, proper body hygiene and a steady partner are recommended.

To reduce the risk of gonorrhea, or even any other sexually transmitted diseases it is very important to use condoms correctly with every sexual intercourse, to limit the number of sexual partners and not to go back and forth between partners. If the partner is infected limit the sexual contact or practice sexual abstinence. If you think that you might be infected with gonorrhea seek immediate medical help. Avoid sexual intercourse an tell your partner (partners if multiple) to get checked and treated if infected.

Any genital symptoms such as painful urination, burning during urination, genital rash or discharge should be consulted with a doctor immediately.

Is there a vaccine for gonorrhea?

No, there is no vaccine for gonorrhea.