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 Man Pathogen
N.meningitidis Man Occurs in carrier state
Some strains cause epidemics/pandemics
N. lactamica Man Commensal; more frequent in children than adults
N. polysaccarea Man Commensal
N. cinerea Man Commensal
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 Man Commensal
N. subflava Biovar perflava Man Commensal
N. sicca Man Commensal
N. mucosa Man Commensal
Similar strain isolated from dolphins
N. elongata Man Commensal
M. catarrhalis Man Possibly normal flora of the nasopharynx
Causes respiratory tract infections including otitis media and sinusitis
K. denitrificans Man Commensal
N. canis Cat Commensal
N. denitrificans Guinea pig Commensal
N. weaveri Dog Commensal 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* Rabbit Commensal
N. macacae Monkey Commensal

*Species incertae sedis, taxonomic position uncertain