What does this bacterium look like?
Neisseria is about 1 micrometer in size and grows best in an oxygen-rich environment. This bacterium has a round shape and often occurs in pairs where the sides that touch are slightly flattened. This bacterium was first described in 1885.
What does science already know about this bacterium?
These bacteria are in general also harmless. For example, species such as Neisseria oralis and Neisseria mucosa typically appear in the mouth. Some variants, however, are known to be pathogenic. A major example is Neisseria gonorrhoeae which is responsible for the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea.
What is this bacterium doing in my mouth?
Most variants of these bacteria are important in maintaining a healthy oral microbiome. There are more than 20 species within this group, only two of which are pathogenic to date. So, nothing to worry about.
What is this bacterium doing on my skin?
These bacteria normally have a hard time surviving on your skin; it is often too dry there. But because the skin around your mouth regularly comes into contact with saliva, we still find them there.
Does this bacterium occur elsewhere?
This bacterium is found on mucous membranes such as in the mouth, upper respiratory tract and vagina.