Pharyngeal gonorrhea screening in adolescents: is it necessary?Pediatrics 1989; 84(4):623-5Ped
A prospective study was performed to examine the prevalence of pharyngeal gonorrhea in two urban female adolescent populations and to compare pharyngeal infection with a history of orogenital activity and concurrent genital gonorrhea. Group I was drawn from a children's hospital adolescent clinic and group II was drawn from a public health clinic for sexually transmitted diseases. None of the 240 adolescents in group I had a pharyngeal culture positive for Neisseria gonorrhoeae compared with 3.4% in group II. Only 2.5% of group I had genital gonorrhea, but 33% of group II had positive genital cultures. In only two of the 20 patients with pharyngeal gonococcal infection was the pharynx the only infected site. The addition of routine pharyngeal culturing for gonorrhea yielded only 1% additional gonorrhea cases. There was a significant relationship between concurrent genital and pharyngeal gonorrhea. These findings indicate that routine screening for pharyngeal gonorrhea is not productive in some adolescent populations. A more economic approach would be to use gonorrhea treatment that is effective against both genital and pharyngeal gonorrhea or to obtain pharyngeal cultures in those adolescents returning for test-of-cure cultures after antibiotic treatment for genital gonorrhea.