What is the etiologic (causative) agent of the disease/disorder in the case below?
A 30 year old woman visited her family physician complaining of painful urination and a bloody vaginal discharge. Vaginal swabs and urine both revealed aerobic, slightly bean-shaped, gram negative diplococci.
The bacterium Neisseria Gonorrhoeae appears to be the causative agent in this case. Found and transmitted only among humans, this bacterium causes the venereal disease gonorrhea. Most women are asymptomatic, and even if symptoms are present they are often mistaken for a vaginal or bladder infection.
If left untreated, gonorrhea in women can damage the uterus and fallopian tubes, leading to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, which can lead to infertility. It can also lead to infertility in men by damaging the epididymis. The prolonged presence of the bacteria increases susceptibility to the HIV virus and if present during birth, it can cause blindness in newborns.