First nationwide study regarding ceftriaxone resistance and molecular epidemiology of Neisseria gonorrhoeae in China

J Antimicrob Chemother. 2016 Jan;71(1):92-9. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkv321. Epub 2015 Oct 15.


Objectives: Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in Neisseria gonorrhoeae is a major public health concern worldwide. This is the first nationwide study, performed within the China Gonococcal Antimicrobial Susceptibility Programme (China-GASP), regarding AMR, including ceftriaxone genetic resistance determinants, and molecular epidemiology of gonococci in China.

Methods: Gonococcal isolates (n = 1257) from consecutive patients were collected at 11 sentinel sites distributed across China during 2012-13. Susceptibility to ceftriaxone, spectinomycin, ciprofloxacin and tetracycline was determined using the agar dilution method. Ceftriaxone resistance determinants penA and penB were examined using sequencing. N. gonorrhoeae multiantigen sequence typing (NG-MAST) was performed for molecular epidemiology.

Results: Among isolates, 0.2% were resistant to spectinomycin, 4.4% to ceftriaxone, 42.9% to tetracyclines (high-level resistance) and 99.8% to ciprofloxacin. Among 890 sequenced isolates, 16 (1.8%) possessed a penA mosaic allele; 4 of these isolates belonged to the MDR internationally spread NG-MAST genogroup G1407 (first description in China). Non-mosaic penA alleles with an A501T mutation and an A102D alteration in porB1b were statistically associated with decreased susceptibility/resistance to ceftriaxone. NG-MAST G10339, G1424 and G1053 were associated with decreased susceptibility/resistance to ceftriaxone.

Conclusions: In China, ceftriaxone and spectinomycin can continue to be recommended for gonorrhoea treatment, with the possible exception of Hainan and Sichuan provinces where ceftriaxone resistance exceeded 5% and AMR surveillance needs to be strengthened. Molecular approaches including genotyping and AMR determinant analysis can be valuable to supplement and enhance conventional surveillance of gonococcal AMR in China.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Ceftriaxone / pharmacology*
  • China / epidemiology
  • DNA, Bacterial / chemistry
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Female
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Genotype
  • Gonorrhea / epidemiology*
  • Gonorrhea / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Epidemiology
  • Multilocus Sequence Typing
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / classification*
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / drug effects*
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / genetics
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / isolation & purification
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Young Adult
  • beta-Lactam Resistance*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Ceftriaxone