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NEISSERIA

Diseases

The genus Neisseria contains two important human pathogens: Neisseria meningitidis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae. N. meningitidis mainly causes meningitis and meningococcemia (Figure 16–1). In the United States, it is the leading cause of death from infection in children. N. gonorrhoeae causes gonorrhea (Figure 16–2), the second most common notifiable bacterial disease in the United States (Tables 16–1 and 16–2). It also causes neonatal conjunctivitis (ophthalmia neonatorum) (Figure 16–3) and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Note that N. meningitidis is also known as the meningococcus (plural, meningococci), and N. gonorrhoeae is also known as the gonococcus (plural, gonococci).

Figure 16–1

Meningococcemia. Note purpuric lesions on leg caused by endotoxin-mediated disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC). (Reproduced with permission from Wolff K, Johnson R. Fitzpatrick’s Color Atlas & Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology, 6th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education; 2009.)

Figure 16–2

Gonorrhea. Note purulent urethral discharge caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae. (Reproduced with permission from Wolff K, Johnson R. Fitzpatrick’s Color Atlas & Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology, 6th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education; 2009.)

Figure 16–3

Neonatal conjunctivitis (ophthalmia neonatorum) caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Note purulent exudate at the corner of the medial side of child’s left eye. The other common cause of neonatal conjunctivitis is Chlamydia trachomatis. Photo contributor: David Effron, M.D. (Reproduced with permission from Knoop KJ, Stack LB, Storrow AB, et al. The Atlas of Emergency Medicine, 4th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education; 2016.)

Table 16–1Neisseriae of Medical Importance1
Table 16–2Important Clinical Features of Neisseriae

Additional information regarding the clinical aspects of infections caused by the organisms in this chapter is ...

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