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Some factors affecting the incubation period and duration of symptoms of urethritis in men.
  1. C B Schofield


    In a retrospective study of clinic records containing accurate information on the dates of infection and onset of symptoms, the mean (+/- SEM) incubation period of gonorrhea in men was 6.2 +/- 3.8 days and the mean duration of symptoms (3.1 +/- 2.3 days. For non-specific urethritis the mean (+/- SEM) figures were 7.7 +/- 4.1 and 4.0 +/- 3.4 days respectively; both were significantly longer than for gonorrhoea. Patients with a first episode of urethritis had longer than average incubation periods and duration of symptoms. Past experience of urethritis shortened the duration of symptoms; this was more significant in gonorrhoeae than in non-specific urethritis. "Anxious" men who had attended previously of their own accord when no abnormality had been found had the shortest times. The most notable factor in determining the interval between infection and attendance, however, was whether or not the sexual contact was known. Infections by known contacts were associated with prolonged duration of symptoms which negated the benefit of past experience and, to some extent, of anxiety. Thus, patients should be made more generally aware that known contacts may be a source of infection, especially after a break in a relationship, and that they should return to the clinic as soon as symptoms develop. Furthermore, doctors should examine carefully even the most persistently "neurotic" patients, because they may eventually become infected.

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