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Gonorrheal Conjunctivitis An Old Disease Returned

Terry Hansen, MD; Robert P. Burns, MD; Aurelia Allen
JAMA. 1966;195(13):1156. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100130130042.
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To the Editor:—  There has been a serious increase in venereal disease in this country, with gonorrhea as well as syphilis occurring more frequently especially in young adults.1 The complications of gonorrhea, including the potentially blinding conjunctivitis, may be expected to increase in frequency parallel to this increased genitourinary disease. Gonorrheal conjunctivitis is not common, considering the incidence of genital gonorrhea, occurring in one in 700 or 800 cases.2 The transmission of bacteria to the eye is usually from the genital organs via the unwashed hands in adults, or by direct inoculation of the eye during passage through the infected cervix in newborn infants.Many physicians, including some ophthalmologists, have never seen a case of gonorrheal ophthalmia. The disease begins as a hyperacute purulent conjunctivitis, usually unilateral, but frequently becoming bilateral after a few days. Clinical manifestations vary slightly according to age, the adult form usually being the


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