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Disseminated gonorrhea in Adult
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Disseminated gonorrhea in Adult

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Contributors: Philip I. Song MD, Susan Burgin MD
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Synopsis

Gonococcemia (also called arthritis-dermatosis syndrome) refers to the presence of Neisseria gonorrhoeae in the bloodstream, often leading to disseminated gonococcal infection. Gonorrhea, caused by N. gonorrhoeae, a gram-negative diplococcus, is the second most commonly reported sexually transmitted disease in the United States, after chlamydia. Gonococcemia occurs in approximately 1%-3% of patients with gonorrhea.

Disseminated gonococcal infection occurs more commonly in women, due to their higher incidence of occult infection. Recent menstruation and pregnancy are risk factors for gonococcemia. Other risk factors include the presence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), lupus, or complement deficiencies; multiple sexual partners; low socioeconomic status; drug use; men who have sex with men (MSM); and a prior history of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Gonococcemia is most prevalent in the adolescent and young adult populations.

The onset of gonococcemia is often abrupt with fever (usually 101°-104°F [38.3°-40°C]), skin lesions, and arthralgias and/or tenosynovitis. Successive crops of pustules on a purpuric base, papules, petechiae, or areas of necrosis may appear during febrile episodes. Arthralgias are asymmetric and migratory, involving at first the extensor tendons of wrists, fingers, knees, and ankles. Later, septic arthritis leads to pain and swelling in one or occasionally more joints.

Septic arthritis may result in progressive joint destruction and osteomyelitis. Other complications include myocarditis, toxic hepatitis, and, less commonly, endocarditis and meningitis. The mortality of endocarditis remains as high as 19% due to congestive heart failure, nephritis, large vegetations, and aortic involvement. Major embolic phenomena may occur.

Abdominal spread of gonococci may cause gonococcal perihepatitis (Fitz-Hugh-Curtis syndrome) with abdominal pain, tenderness, and, occasionally, a hepatic friction rub. Pharyngitis, acute salpingitis, sterility, pelvic peritonitis, and pelvic abscesses may complicate gonorrhea in women. Men uncommonly develop epididymitis, inguinal lymphadenitis, penile edema, periurethral abscesses, and gonococcal prostatitis. Men who have sex with men (MSM) may develop proctitis, rectal discharge, and pharyngitis.

Codes

ICD10CM:
A54.86 – Gonococcal sepsis

SNOMEDCT:
5085001 – Gonococcemia

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Last Reviewed: 05/04/2017
Last Updated: 05/04/2017
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Disseminated gonorrhea in Adult
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Disseminated gonorrhea (Tenosynovitis, Dermatitis, Polyarthralgia Syndrome) : Chills, Fever, Acral, Ankle, Fingers, Malaise, Polyarthralgia, Pustule, Tense vesicle, Toes, Wrist
Clinical image of Disseminated gonorrhea
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