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Alternative Names Return to topDisseminated gonococcal infection (DGI)
Definition Return to top
Gonococcal arthritis is inflammation of a joint (usually just one) due to a gonorrhea infection.
See also: Non-gonococcal bacterial arthritis
Causes Return to top
Gonococcal arthritis is a bacterial infection of a joint. It occurs in people who have gonorrhea. It affects women four times more often than men, and is most common among sexually active adolescent girls.
Two forms of gonococcal arthritis exist:
Symptoms Return to top
Exams and Tests Return to top
Blood cultures should be checked in all cases of possible gonococcal arthritis.
Tests will be done to check for a gonorrhea infection. This may involve taking samples of tissue, stool, joint fluids, or other body material and sending them to a lab for examination under a microscope. Examples of such tests include:
Treatment Return to top
The gonorrhea infection must be treated. For detailed information about treating this disease, see gonorrhea.
There are two aspects of treating a sexually transmitted disease, especially one as easily spread as gonorrhea. The first is to cure the infected person. The second is to locate, test, and treat all sexual contacts of the infected person to prevent further spread of the disease.
A new standardized treatment routine is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Your health care provider will determine the best and most up-to-date treatment. A follow-up visit 7 days after treatment is important to recheck blood tests and confirm the cure of infection.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
Symptoms usually improve within 1 to 2 days of starting treatment. Full recovery can be expected.
Possible Complications Return to top
Untreated, this condition may lead to persistent joint pain.
For information on other gonorrhea-related complications, see gonorrhea.
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of gonococcal arthritis.
Prevention Return to top
Not having sexual intercourse (abstinence) is the only absolute method of preventing gonorrhea. A monogamous sexual relationship with an individual known to be free of any sexually transmitted disease (STD) can reduce risk. Monogamous means you and your partner do not have sex with any other persons.
You can greatly lower your risk of catching an STD by using a condom every time you have sex. Condoms are available for both men and women, but are most commonly worn by the man. A condom must be used properly every time.
References Return to top
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Update to CDC's sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines, 2006: fluoroquinolones no longer recommended for treatment of gonococcal infections. MMWR. 2007;56(14):332-336.
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for gonorrhea: recommendation statement. Ann Fam Physician. 2005;3(3):263-267.
Cohen J, Powderly WG. Infectious Diseases. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Elsevier; 2004:2173-2186.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance, 2004. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Service, September 2005.
Weinstock H, Berman S, Cates W. Sexually transmitted disease among American youth: Incidence and prevalence estimates, 2000. Perspect Sex Reprod Health. 2004;36:6-10.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines 2002. MMWR. 2002;51(no. RR-6):1-78.Update Date: 12/3/2007 Updated by: D. Scott Smith, M.D., MSc, DTM&H, Chief of Infectious Disease & Geographic Medicine, Kaiser Redwood City, CA & Adjunct Assistant Professor, Stanford University. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.