Factors related to increasing prevalence of resistance to ciprofloxacin and other antimicrobial drugs in Neisseria gonorrhoeae, United States

Emerg Infect Dis. 2012 Aug;18(8):1290-7. doi: 10.3201/eid1808.111202.


Using data from the Gonococcal Isolate Surveillance Project, we studied changes in ciprofloxacin resistance in Neisseria gonorrhoeae isolates in the United States during 2002-2007. Compared with prevalence in heterosexual men, prevalence of ciprofloxacin-resistant N. gonorrhoeae infections showed a more pronounced increase in men who have sex with men (MSM), particularly through an increase in prevalence of strains also resistant to tetracycline and penicillin. Moreover, that multidrug resistance profile among MSM was negatively associated with recent travel. Across the surveillance project sites, first appearance of ciprofloxacin resistance in heterosexual men was positively correlated with such resistance for MSM. The increase in prevalence of ciprofloxacin resistance may have been facilitated by use of fluoroquinolones for treating gonorrhea and other conditions. The prominence of multidrug resistance suggests that using other classes of antimicrobial drugs for purposes other than treating gonorrhea helped increase the prevalence of ciprofloxacin-resistant strains that are also resistant to those drugs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Ciprofloxacin / pharmacology*
  • Ciprofloxacin / therapeutic use
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial*
  • Female
  • Gonorrhea / drug therapy
  • Gonorrhea / epidemiology*
  • Heterosexuality
  • Homosexuality, Male
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / drug effects*
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / isolation & purification
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sentinel Surveillance
  • Travel
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Ciprofloxacin