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November 6, 1967


JAMA. 1967;202(6):538. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03130190144024

The problem of urethritis is amplified greatly for military commands during periods of increased military activity. No fewer than 66,000 cases of venereal disease were reported during 1966 among US troops in Vietnam.1 Rates have similarly soared among military units in other Southeast Asian countries where US support bases are located.

Urethritis acquired in these areas has attracted special attention because it often does not respond to standard penicillin treatment. Decreased sensitivity of Neisseria gonorrhoeae to penicillin in Southeast Asia was recognized as early as 1961 by World Health Organization workers,2 and the need to greatly increase penicillin dosages in gonorrhea therapy was thus implicit there long before it became evident in the United States.

For US physicians, "penicillin-resistant" gonorrhea is still primarily a problem of military personnel in Southeast Asia. However, any marked difference in penicillin sensitivities between Asian and US strains of gonococci cannot be expected