Gonococcal Conjunctivitis

 

Gonococcal conjunctivitis (eye infection) is very rare in adults. It is normally seen only in infants delivered to mothers with gonorrhea, and is called ophthalmia neonatorum.

Gonorrhea can be transmitted simultaneously with other sexually-transmitted diseases.

Gonorrhea is one of the most common infectious bacterial diseases and is most frequently transmitted during sexual intercourse, including vaginal, oral and anal sex.

Gonorrhea is a reportable disease and all state governments require that cases of diagnosed gonorrhea be reported to the health authorities (the State Board of Health). This allows for adequate follow-up and testing of sexual contacts. This is important because an estimated 90% of an infected male's sex contacts are or will become infected. In the male, the risk of acquiring gonorrhea following one episode of vaginal intercourse with an infected female is approximately 20% (1 in 5).

There are almost 400,000 cases of gonorrhea a year reported to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control). There are probably many cases that are diagnosed and treated that are not reported as required (the total number of cases is thought to approach 1,000,000. If unreported cases are included, some estimates reach 2,000,000). However, a rate of 400,000 cases per year means that 1 in every 687 Americans has gonorrhea (a rate of two million means that 1 in every 130 Americans are infected).

There is a higher prevalence in large metropolitan areas, inner city areas, populations with lower overall levels of education and people with a lower socioeconomic status. Gonorrhea is most prevalent in people 15 to 29 years old. Risk factors include having multiple sexual partners, a partner with a past history of any STD and unprotected sex (sex without the use of a condom or the female condom).

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