What host factors enhance susceptibility to disseminated gonococcal infection?
1. High-risk sexual practices (i.e., multiple sexual partners, prostitutes).
2. Local environment of the cervix (i.e., changes in pH that occur during menstruation).
3. Congenital or acquired complement deficiencies, especially of C6–C8, predispose to recurrent Neisseria infections. The interaction between the Neisserial organism and complement system is critical to eradicating it from the blood stream.
Pearl: Always get a serum CH50 level in a patient with recurrent Neisserial infections. If it is 0, evaluate the patient for complement deficiency.
4. Asplenia or reticuloendothelial dysfunction such as may occur in SLE and sickle cell anemia patients.