Emergence of meningococci with reduced susceptibility to third-generation cephalosporins

J Antimicrob Chemother. 2017 Jan;72(1):95-98. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkw400. Epub 2016 Oct 12.


Objectives: Reduced susceptibility to penicillin G in Neisseria meningitidis is mainly due to alterations in PBP2 encoded by the penA gene. However, this phenotype was not associated with reduced susceptibility to third-generation cephalosporins (C3Gs). We aimed to study the emergence of meningococci with reduced susceptibility to C3Gs (MIC >0.06 mg/L) in France since 2012.

Methods: Invasive meningococcal isolates were typed by MLST and penA sequencing and their antibiotic susceptibility was tested.

Results: Isolates with reduced susceptibility to C3Gs represented 2% of all invasive isolates from 2012-15, but were absent before. They harboured a new penA allele, penA327, that was also detected in isolates from urethritis cases and in gonococci.

Conclusions: Surveillance of these isolates should be enhanced as they may jeopardize the use of C3Gs in the management of invasive meningococcal disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cephalosporin Resistance*
  • Cephalosporins / pharmacology*
  • France
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Meningococcal Infections / microbiology*
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Multilocus Sequence Typing
  • Neisseria meningitidis / classification
  • Neisseria meningitidis / drug effects*
  • Neisseria meningitidis / genetics
  • Neisseria meningitidis / isolation & purification


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Cephalosporins