Molecular epidemiology of recently emergent ciprofloxacin-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae in South Africa

Sex Transm Dis. 2006 Jun;33(6):357-60. doi: 10.1097/01.olq.0000194581.02022.f0.


Objectives: Syndromic management guidelines for male urethritis syndrome and female discharge syndrome (nonpregnant) in South Africa advocate the use of ciprofloxacin for potential infection with Neisseria gonorrhoeae. In 2003, reports of clinical failure of gonorrhea following ciprofloxacin treatment prompted a clinic-based surveillance to detect the presence of resistant isolates.

Study: Urethral samples for the isolation of N gonorrhoeae were obtained from consecutive male patients with urethral discharge attending the largest sexually transmitted disease clinic in KwaZuluNatal. Molecular typing of isolates was performed by means of N gonorrhoeae multiantigen sequence typing (NG-MAST).

Results: Of 139 isolates, 31 (22%) were resistant to ciprofloxacin (minimum inhibitory concentration >or=1 mg/l). NG-MAST revealed novel, as well as previously described, sequence types (ST). The largest cluster of our isolates belonged to ST 217. This ST has been reported among ciprofloxacin-resistant isolates from Europe.

Conclusion: : The results underscore the urgency of review of the current treatment guidelines for discharge disease in KwaZuluNatal.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Ciprofloxacin / pharmacology*
  • Ciprofloxacin / therapeutic use
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial*
  • Gonorrhea / drug therapy
  • Gonorrhea / epidemiology*
  • Gonorrhea / etiology
  • Gonorrhea / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / classification
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / drug effects*
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / genetics
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / isolation & purification
  • South Africa / epidemiology
  • Urethritis / drug therapy
  • Urethritis / epidemiology
  • Urethritis / etiology
  • Urethritis / microbiology


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Ciprofloxacin