- Gram-negative diplococcus, oxidase and catalase positive. Grows best on blood agar medium or chocolate medium (blood heated at 176-194o F).
- Has a loose capsule and pili. Antigenic variation of pili can be used for epidemiological characterization.
- Strains with nutrient requirements for arginine, hypoxanthine or uracil are more likely to cause asymptomatic infection.
- Infects surfaces lined with columnar epithelial cells: endocervix, urethra, anogenital and oropharyngeal mucous membranes, conjunctiva.
- Always considered pathogenic when identified.
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