Neisseria gonorrhoeae vs. Neisseria meningitides

By Acharya Tankeshwar •  Updated: 05/05/22 •  1 min read

Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Neisseria meningitides are Gram-negative diplococci (kidney bean-shaped) with flattened sides.  They are characteristically found inside polymorphonuclear leucocytes. They are non-sporing, non-motile, and oxidase positive.

They have exacting growth requirements and do not grow on ordinary media. Growth occurs on media enriched with blood or serum like Chocolate Agar, Thayer Martin Agar, and Modified New York City Medium.

Some of the notable differences between them are:

Characteristics Neisseria gonorrhoeae (Gonococci)Neisseria meningitides (Meningococci)
CapsuleNo polysaccharide capsuleYes (has a prominent polysaccharide capsule, and is divided into 13 serologic groups on the basis of capsular antigens)
PiliYes (one of the most important virulence factors; nonpiliated strains are avirulent)Yes
Portal of EntryGenitalRespiratory
  • Male: urethritis, proctitis Female: endocervicitis, PID (contiguous spread), arthritis, proctitis Infants: ophthalmia  neonatorum Otitis media Sinusitis Bronchitis and bronchopneumonia in elderly patients with COPD
 Meningitis and meningococcemia
Glucose FermentationYesYes
Maltose Fermentation*NoYes
β-Lactamase ProductionCommonRare (Penicillin G is the treatment of choice for meningococcal infection)
Vaccine availableNoYes (conjugate vaccine and unconjugated vaccine are available)

*  The differentiation between Neisseria meningitidis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae is made on the basis of sugar fermentation: meningococci ferment maltose  (MM), whereas gonococci do not. 

Acharya Tankeshwar

Hello, thank you for visiting my blog. I am Tankeshwar Acharya. Blogging is my passion. I am working as an Asst. Professor and Microbiologist at Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Patan Academy of Health Sciences, Nepal. If you want me to write about any posts that you found confusing/difficult, please email at

Keep Reading

One response to “Neisseria gonorrhoeae (gonococcus) Virulence Factors”

  1. Varsha says:

    Hello sir, can u please explain me the use of various gene targets i.e E, N, & RdRp gene in pcr for diagnosis of covid 19. What does presence of E gene reveal abd presence of other genes reveal.
    Thanks & regards

We love to get your feedback. Share your queries or comments

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: