Gonococcal cellulitis: an (un)friendly bite

Infection. 2018 Aug;46(4):569-572. doi: 10.1007/s15010-018-1132-6. Epub 2018 Mar 16.


Background: Gonococcal infection can present with wide spectrum of symptoms, most commonly involving the genitals. This case highlights a rare presentation of Neisseria gonorrhoeae infection primarily with skin involvement without uro-genital disease.

Case: A 33-year-old male was admitted to the hospital with complaints of painful swelling of his penis. In the emergency room, he underwent incision and drainage of the abscess under local anaesthesia. After microbiological evaluation, he was found to have skin abscess caused by N. gonorrhoeae and was treated with intravenous ceftriaxone and changed to oral agent amoxicillin-clavulanate with complete resolution.

Conclusion: The manifestations of gonococcal infection have changed significantly over the last few years, with more involvement of extra genital sites attributed to changes in sexual practices. Our patient was treated for cellulitis and abscess caused by N. gonorrhoeae in the absence of systemic or urethral disease. Recommendations regarding treatment of gonococcal infection have been widely published. However, there is a paucity of evidence-based guidelines regarding the therapy of primary cutaneous gonococcal infection. Pooled data from similar cases may help determine the optimum therapy.

Keywords: Abscess; Cellulitis; Gonococcal infection; Sexually transmitted infection.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Abscess / diagnosis
  • Abscess / drug therapy
  • Abscess / microbiology
  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cellulitis / diagnosis*
  • Cellulitis / drug therapy
  • Cellulitis / microbiology*
  • Gonorrhea / diagnosis*
  • Gonorrhea / drug therapy
  • Gonorrhea / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae*
  • Phenotype
  • Symptom Assessment
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents