Gonococcal Conjunctivitis in Adults: Case Report and Retrospective Review of Cases in Alberta, Canada, 2000-2016

Sex Transm Dis. 2019 Jan;46(1):47-51. doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0000000000000897.


Background: A case of gonococcal conjunctivitis (GC) prompted us to review the reported cases and treatment regimens of GC in Alberta, Canada.

Methods: Gonococcal cases reported from 2000 to 2016 were extracted from the provincial sexually transmitted infection reporting database. The diagnosis of GC was based on a positive culture and/or nucleic acid amplification test from the eye.

Results: A total of 45 cases of GC were reported in adults. Three quarters (75.6%; n = 34) of the cases were diagnosed using culture, 57.8% (n = 26) of cases were among men, and 55.5% (n = 25) were diagnosed since 2014. Very few (13.3%; n = 6) of the cases were treated according to current Canadian Guidelines on Sexually Transmitted Infections, using 2 g of ceftriaxone in combination with azithromycin or doxycycline. Results of test of cures were available for 15.6% (n = 7) of the cases and occurred within 10 to 79 days (median = 26 days) after treatment; all were negative.

Conclusions: Gonococcal conjunctivitis was relatively uncommon in our region, but given its potential for severe manifestations and sequelae coupled with the rising rates of gonorrhea; it remains important to consider this diagnosis in sexually active individuals presenting with purulent conjunctivitis. Additional studies are needed to inform treatment recommendations and to evaluate outcomes of infection.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alberta
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Genotyping Techniques
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / drug effects
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / genetics
  • Ophthalmia Neonatorum / diagnosis*
  • Ophthalmia Neonatorum / drug therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents