The sexually transmitted infection gonorrhea has been around for centuries, described in early writings from Egypt, China and Japan. Even the bible describes warnings about “unclean discharges from the body.” Yet although the bacteria behind the infection, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, were first identified back in 1879, there are still many questions that remain unanswered about how these organisms spread from person to person.
A study in mBio this week offers clues. Researchers at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago and the University of Cologne in Germany have found that exposure to seminal plasma – the liquid part of semen containing secretions from the male genital tract – allows N. gonorrhoeae to more easily move and start to colonize in human tissues.
Understanding How Gonorrhea Spreads: It's Seminal