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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.

Clinical Description

A clinical syndrome resulting from the ascending spread of microorganisms from the vagina and endocervix to the endometrium, fallopian tubes, and/or contiguous structures. In a female who has lower abdominal pain and who has not been diagnosed as having an established cause other than pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) (e.g., ectopic pregnancy, acute appendicitis, and functional pain), all the following clinical criteria must be present:

  • Lower abdominal tenderness, AND
  • Tenderness with motion of the cervix, AND
  • Adnexal tenderness

In addition to the preceding criteria, at least one of the following findings must also be present:

  • Meets the surveillance case definition of C. trachomatis infection or gonorrhea
  • Temperature greater than 100.4°F (greater than 38.0°C)
  • Leukocytosis greater than 10,000 white blood cells/mm3
  • Purulent material in the peritoneal cavity obtained by culdocentesis or laparoscopy
  • Pelvic abscess or inflammatory complex detected by bimanual examination or by sonography
  • Patient is a sexual contact of a person known to have gonorrhea, chlamydia, or Nongonococcal urethritis

Case Classification


A case that meets the clinical case definition


For reporting purposes, a clinician's report of PID should be counted as a case.

Related Case Definition(s)