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NOTE: A surveillance case definition is a set of uniform criteria used to define a disease for public health surveillance. Surveillance case definitions enable public health officials to classify and count cases consistently across reporting jurisdictions. Surveillance case definitions are not intended to be used by healthcare providers for making a clinical diagnosis or determining how to meet an individual patient’s health needs.

CSTE Position Statement(s)

  • 09-ID-35

Clinical Description

A sexually transmitted infection commonly manifested by urethritis, cervicitis, or salpingitis. Infection may be asymptomatic.

Laboratory Criteria For Diagnosis

  • Isolation of typical gram-negative, oxidase-positive diplococci (presumptive Neisseria gonorrhoeae) from a clinical specimen, OR
  • Demonstration of N. gonorrhoeae in a clinical specimen by detection of antigen or nucleic acid, OR
  • Observation of gram-negative intracellular diplococci in a urethral smear obtained from a male

Case Classification


  • Demonstration of gram-negative intracellular diplococci in an endocervical smear obtained from a female, OR
  • A written morbidity report of gonorrhea submitted by a physician


A case that is laboratory confirmed


The 1996 case definition appearing on this page was re-published in the 2009 CSTE position statement 09-ID-35. Thus, the 1996 and 2010 versions of the case definition are identical.

Related Case Definition(s)