Neisseria: N. gonorrhoea (gonococci) and N. meningitidis (meningococci)

Please note: This is for information only.

Refer to local guidelines for treatment recommendations


  • Gram-negative intracellular diplococci
  • Meningococci can be present in patients saliva during the first 48 hours of admission. Masks should therefore be worn for endotracheal intubation or suctioning and patients nursed in a side room for the first 48 hours if possible.
  • Diagnosis can be made by looking for meningococcal DNA by PCR on EDTA samples, as well as blood cultures and CSF cultures.

Main clinical infections:

  • Meningococci:
  • Meningitis and / or septicaemia
  • Pneumonia in the elderly
  • Occasionally septic arthritis.
  • Gonococci:
  • Vaginal / penile discharge
  • Pelvic inflammatory diseases.
  • Occasionally disseminated infection with septic arthritis.

Usually sensitive to:

Meningococci:

  • For treatment: Penicillin, 3rd generation cephalosporins (ceftriaxone, cefotaxime)
  • For eradication of carriage: rifampicin, ciprofloxacin, ceftriaxone

Gonococci:

  • Third generation cephalosporins eg ceftriaxone.

Usually resistant to:

  • Sulfonamides.

Gonococci:

  • Increasing problem of resistance to penicillin so only used for treatment if known sensitive strain.
  • Resistance to the quinolone antibiotics (ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin) is rising