Skip directly to site content Skip directly to search
U.S. flag An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov

A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS

A lock ( ) or https:// means you've safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

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.

Clinical Description

Urethral inflammation that is not the result of infection with Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Urethral inflammation may be diagnosed by the presence of one of the following criteria:

  • A visible abnormal urethral discharge, OR
  • A positive leukocyte esterase test from a male aged less than 60 years who does not have a history of kidney disease or bladder infection, prostate enlargement, urogenital anatomic anomaly, or recent urinary tract instrumentation, OR
  • Microscopic evidence of urethritis (greater than or equal to 5 white blood cells per high-power field) on a Gram stain of a urethral smear

Laboratory Criteria For Diagnosis

No evidence of N. gonorrhoeae infection by culture, Gram stain, or antigen or nucleic acid detection

Case Classification


A clinically compatible case in a male in whom gonorrhea is not found, either by culture, Gram stain, or antigen or nucleic acid detection


Nongonococcal urethritis is a clinical diagnosis of exclusion. The syndrome may result from infection with any of several agents (see Chlamydia trachomatis, Genital Infection). If gonorrhea and chlamydia are excluded, a clinically compatible illness should be classified as NGU. An illness in a male that meets the case definition of NGU and C. trachomatis infection should be classified as chlamydia.

Related Case Definition(s)