Changing patterns of disseminated gonococcal infection in France: cross-sectional data 2009-2011

Sex Transm Infect. 2013 Dec;89(8):613-5. doi: 10.1136/sextrans-2013-051119. Epub 2013 Aug 6.


Objectives: Disseminated gonococcal infections (DGIs) are rare. We describe the characteristics of DGIs in France.

Methods: This is a 3-year retrospective analysis of DGI cases collected through two networks of microbiologists and infectious disease specialists in France between 2009 and 2011. DGI was defined either by the isolation of Neisseria gonorrhoeae from blood and synovial fluid or by the existence of a clinical syndrome consistent with DGI and the isolation of N gonorrhoeae from any site. We describe the epidemiological, clinical and microbiological characteristics and outcomes of DGIs.

Results: 21 patients (9 women, 12 men; 18-62 years old) were diagnosed with DGI. The number of DGI cases increased between 2009 and 2011. Two men who had sex with men were coinfected with HIV. We found 28 extragenital locations, including arthritis (14 cases), tenosynovitis (7), skin lesions (4), endocarditis (1), prostatitis (1) and pelvic inflammatory disease (1). Genital signs were present in five patients. The diagnosis was confirmed by cultures in 20 patients-blood (4), synovial fluid (11), genital (3), throat (1), urine (1)-and by molecular biology on a pharyngeal swab in 1 patient. Seven cases were resistant to fluoroquinolones. The patients were treated with ceftriaxone, associated with corticosteroids (two cases) and surgery (six cases). Four patients had joint sequelae.

Conclusions: DGIs are increasing. Men seem to be at higher risk than women. Joint involvement was common. Microbiological diagnosis was based on culture, however molecular biology using pharyngeal swabs was helpful when cultures were negative.


MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Arthritis, Infectious / epidemiology*
  • Arthritis, Infectious / microbiology
  • Bacteremia / microbiology*
  • Bacterial Adhesion
  • Coinfection
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • Genitalia / microbiology
  • Gonorrhea / epidemiology*
  • Gonorrhea / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / immunology
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / isolation & purification*
  • Pharynx / microbiology
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Bacterial / epidemiology
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Bacterial / microbiology
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Bacterial / prevention & control
  • Synovial Fluid / microbiology
  • Tenosynovitis / epidemiology*
  • Tenosynovitis / microbiology


  • DNA, Bacterial