The prevalence of gonococcal infection of the rectum and pharynx in 239 consecutive women with gonorrhoea presenting as named contacts was 47% and 10% respectively. In 2% of all patients the rectum and pharynx were each the sole sites of infection. Treatment failure occurred in three patients given a single dose of aqueous procaine penicillin 2.4 megaunits intramuscularly, two of whom had rectal infections; no treatment failures occurred in patients with pharyngeal infections. The incidence of rectal gonorrhoea significantly increased with the duration of infection (P less than 0.001). This suggests that autoinoculation from infected vaginal material is of major importance in the transmission of gonococcal infection to the rectum.
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