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Gonorrhea Laboratory Information Identification of N. gonorrhoeae and Related Species

Natural Habitat of Neisseria and Related Species

Most Neisseria and related species are normal flora in humans and animals (Table 2); their host range is shown in Table 2. However, some species such as N. gonorrhoeae are pathogens in normal hosts and those species listed as commensals may be opportunistic pathogens.

Table 2. Host Range of Neisseria species, Moraxella catarrhalis, and Kingella denitrificans

Species Host Pathogen/Commensal
N. gonorrhoeae ManPathogen
N.meningitidis Man Occurs in carrier state
Some strains cause epidemics/pandemics
N. lactamica ManCommensal; more frequent in children than adults
N. polysaccarea Man Commensal
N. cinerea ManCommensal
N. flavescens Man Isolated from outbreak of meningitis
Apart from the original description, there are no reliable isolations of this species; strains isolated as N. flavescens were probably N. cinerea or N. polysaccharea
N. subflava Biovar subflava Man Commensal
N. subflava Biovar flava ManCommensal
N. subflava Biovar perflava Man Commensal
N. sicca ManCommensal
N. mucosa Man Commensal
Similar strain isolated from dolphins
N. elongata ManCommensal
M. catarrhalis Man Possibly normal flora of the nasopharynx
Causes respiratory tract infections including otitis media and sinusitis
K. denitrificans ManCommensal
N. canisCatCommensal
N. denitrificans Guinea pig Commensal
N. weaveriDogCommensal in the upper respiratory tract of dogs; isolated from dog bites in humans
N. iguanae Iguana Commensal
N. ovis*Sheep
Causes keratoconjunctivitis in sheep
N. caviae* Guinea pig Commensal
N. cuniculi*RabbitCommensal
N. macacae Monkey Commensal

*Species incertae sedis, taxonomic position uncertain

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