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Am J Epidemiol. 1999 Feb 15;149(4):353-8.

Longitudinal evaluation of serovar-specific immunity to Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

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1
Division of Infectious Diseases, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 27599-7030, USA.

Abstract

The serovars of Neisseria gonorrhoeae that are predominant in a community change over time, a phenomenon that may be due to the development of immunity to repeat infection with the same serovar. This study evaluated the epidemiologic evidence for serovar-specific immunity to N. gonorrhoeae. During a 17-month period in 1992-1994, all clients of a sexually transmitted disease clinic in rural North Carolina underwent genital culture for N. gonorrhoeae. Gonococcal isolates were serotyped according to standard methods. Odds ratios for repeat infection with the same serovar versus any different serovar were calculated on the basis of the distribution of serovars in the community at the time of reinfection. Of 2,838 patients, 608 (21.4%; 427 males and 181 females) were found to be infected with N. gonorrhoeae at the initial visit. Ninety patients (14.8% of the 608) had a total of 112 repeat gonococcal infections. Repeat infection with the same serovar occurred slightly more often than would be expected based on the serovars prevalent in the community at the time of reinfection, though the result was marginally nonsignificant (odds ratio = 1.5, 95% confidence interval 1.0-2.4; p = 0.05). Choosing partners within a sexual network may increase the likelihood of repeat exposure to the same serovar of N. gonorrhoeae. Gonococcal infection did not induce evident immunity to reinfection with the same serovar.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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