What is included in the workup for suspected disseminated gonococcal infection (DGI)?

Updated: Jun 15, 2021
  • Author: Shahab Qureshi, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Pranatharthi Haran Chandrasekar, MBBS, MD  more...
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Gram stains, cultures, and nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) of genital, rectal, conjunctival, pharyngeal secretions and/or other extragenital sites, as applicable, should also be obtained when DGI is suspected. Specimens from disseminated sites of infection, such as skin, synovial fluid, blood, and CSF, are recommended. Perihepatitis is also an occasional complication.

The highest yield of N gonorrhoeae organisms in gonococcemia is from mucosal sites, including the pharynx, urethra, cervix, or rectum. Urethral and cervical cultures are typically the most revealing. Blood cultures yield positive culture results in 10-30% of patients and joint fluid in 20-30% of patients. Skin lesions yield organisms in only about 10% of patients. Immunofluorescence studies may improve the effectiveness in skin and joint fluid. Gram stain of material from unroofed skin lesions may show typical organisms.

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