Despite the fact that gonorrhea is our most common reportable infectious disease, little is known about natural and acquired resistance to Neisseria gonorrhoeae. With the chimpanzee model, which mimics human gonococcal infection in signs, symptoms, and host response, a natural resistance to gonococcal challenge was found. One aspect of this natural resistance became evident when the cervix and oral pharynx resisted more gonococci than the urethra. Natural resistance was also shown when environmental factors were found to influence resistance to gonococcal pharyngitis. In addition to natural resistance a postinfection-acquired immunity to the gonococcus was demonstrated. Following gonococcal pharyngitis, this anatomical location successfully resisted more gonococci than were initially resisted. Similarly, more gonococci were successfully resisted in rechallenging the urethra. These findings are related to the clinic situation and suggest possible new approaches to gonorrhea control.
S J Kraus, W J Brown, R J Arko