A survey of San Diego pediatricians, 61% of whom responded to a mailed questionnaire, revealed that 20% had seen at least one child aged 16 years or less with symptomatic gonorrhea in 1971. This paper reviews the mode of infection, clinical picture, and age-specific therapy of gonorrhea in childhood.
Neonatal gonorrheal ophthalmia is a medical emergency treated with antibiotics and mydriatics. Prepubescent gonorrhea usually presents as vulvovaginitis, is acquired from a relative, and is treated with penicillin and, occasionally, estrogen. Adolescent gonorrhea is manifested and treated as disease in adults. In view of the high incidence of gonorrhea today and its asymptomatic character in women, routine cultures from sexually active adolescent girls are recommended. Case finding and reporting are essential to delineate the magnitude of the problem and for control of the current epidemic.