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Gonorrhea is caused by a bacterium known as Neisseria gonorrheae. This bacterium makes it way into the body by first colonizing the mucus membrane during sexual intercourse, anal sex or oral sex. The only host that is bacterium makes use of is the human population. (See Reference 1)
The bacterium makes use of fimbriae in order to attach itself to the cells. Thereafter, the bacterium produces substance that is toxic to the cells and this results in the damage of epithelial cells that have cilia, as the ones found in the fallopian tube. (See Reference 1) Once the infected person's immune system reacts to the invasion of the bacterium, the bacterium goes on to produce a protein that combines with the immunoglobulin of the antibodies and renders them useless. This causes the infection to spread. However, if gonorrhea is caught in the initial stages, it can be treated very easily with the help of antibiotics and no permanent damage is caused to the person's body.
The bacterium is gram negative and shaped like the coffee bean. In laboratory settings, the bacterium requires chocolate agar growing medium along with carbon dioxide to multiply. (See Reference 2) Usually, the bacterium appears in pairs, scientifically known as diplococci. The bacterium is motile. (See Reference 2)
In the year 2011, researchers belonging to the Northwestern University found the presence of human DNA in the genome of the bacterium. This is the first time scientists have found gene transfer that has taken place from humans to a bacterium. (See Reference 2)
It has been seen that men have a 25 percent chance of getting gonorrhea after having sex once with an infected partner, whereas women have a 40 percent chance of getting the infection after a single encounter. In case of women who are on oral contraceptives, the risk of getting gonorrhea after a single sexual encounter with an infected partner is 100 percent. (See Reference 1)
Generally, when a man gets infected, he may not display any symptoms in the initial stages. If they symptoms appear, they are noticeable 3 to 6 days after the exposure. Also, women may not have any symptoms initially. In case of women, gonorrheal infection can cause pelvic inflammatory disease. This usually occurs when the infection spread to the fallopian tubes and the uterus. (See Reference 1)
At the moment, there is no vaccine to prevent getting gonorrheal infection, though the medical science fraternity is trying to develop for Neisseria gonorrheae. (See Reference 1)
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2. Wikipedia: Neisseria Gonorrhoeae