Gonorrhea, a disease of public health importance, not only leads to high incidence of acute infections and complications but also plays a major role in facilitating human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) acquisition and transmission. One of the major public health needs for gonorrhea control is appropriate, effective treatment. However, treatment options for gonorrhea are diminishing as Neisseria gonorrhoeae have developed resistance to several antimicrobial drugs such as sulfonamides, penicillin, tetracyclines and quinolones. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) surveillance of N. gonorrhoeae helps establish and maintain the efficacy of standard treatment regimens. AMR surveillance should be continuous to reveal the emergence of new resistant strains, monitor the changing patterns of resistance, and be able to update treatment recommendations so as to assist in disease control. Current treatment guidelines recommend the use of single dose injectable or oral cephalosporins. The emergence and spread of cephalosporin resistant and multi drug resistant N. gonorrhoeae strains, represents a worrying trend that requires monitoring and investigation. Routine clinical laboratories need to be vigilant for the detection of such strains such that strategies for control and prevention could be reviewed and revised from time to time. It will be important to elucidate the genetic mechanisms responsible for decreased susceptibility and future resistance. There is also an urgent need for research of safe, alternative anti-gonococcal compounds that can be administered orally and have effective potency, allowing high therapeutic efficacy (greater than 95.0% cure rate).
Keywords: Antimicrobial resistance; Cephalosporin resistance; Gonorrhea management; Neisseria gonorrhoeae.