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Keywords:

  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae;
  • ciprofloxacin resistance;
  • molecular epidemiology;
  • porB gene;
  • NG-MAST

A highly discriminative and objective genetic characterization of N. gonorrhoeae, which increases our knowledge of strain populations in different geographic areas, is crucial for the development of improved control measures. In the present study, conventional phenotypic characterization and genetic characterization by means of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), sequencing of the entire porB gene, N. gonorrhoeae multiantigen sequence typing (NG-MAST), and pyrosequencing of a quinolone resistance determining region (QRDR) of the gyrA gene of Swedish ciprofloxacin-resistant N. gonorrhoeae serovar IB-10 isolates (n=45) were performed. The genetic characterization identified one widely spread ciprofloxacin-resistant N. gonorrhoeae ST147 strain. In addition, isolates with slightly different genetic characteristics, which presumably reflect the ongoing evolution only, were also identified. All the isolates contained single nucleotide polymorphisms in QRDR of the gyrA gene that are highly correlated with ciprofloxacin resistance. Consequently, comprehensive characterization identified the first confirmed large domestic transmission, mainly among young heterosexuals, of one ciprofloxacin-resistant N. gonorrhoeae strain in Swedish society during 2002–2003. In conclusion, a precise, i.e. genetic, characterization for identification of individual strains is a very valuable support to the crucial active surveillance of the epidemiological characteristics and the antibiotic susceptibility of N. gonorrhoeae in the effective treatment of gonorrhoea.