Detection of Ciprofloxacin-Resistant, β-Lactamase-Producing Neisseria meningitidis Serogroup Y Isolates - United States, 2019-2020

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2020 Jun 19;69(24):735-739. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6924a2.


Meningococcal disease is a sudden-onset, life-threatening illness caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis. Prompt empiric antibiotic treatment can reduce morbidity and mortality among patients, and antibiotic prophylaxis can prevent secondary disease in close contacts. Historically, N. meningitidis isolates in the United States have largely been susceptible to the antibiotics recommended for treatment and prophylaxis, including penicillin and ciprofloxacin. This report describes detection of penicillin-resistant and ciprofloxacin-resistant N. meningitidis serogroup Y (NmY) isolates in the United States. NmY isolates containing a blaROB-1 β-lactamase enzyme gene conferring resistance to penicillins (1) were recovered from 33 cases reported during 2013-2020. Isolates from 11 of these cases, reported during 2019-2020, harbored a ciprofloxacin resistance-associated mutation in a chromosomal gene (gyrA). Cases were reported from 12 geographically disparate states; a majority of cases (22 of 33, 67%) occurred in Hispanic persons. These cases represent a substantial increase in penicillin-resistant and ciprofloxacin-resistant meningococci in the United States since 2013. Ceftriaxone and cefotaxime, the recommended first-line agents for empiric bacterial meningitis treatment, can continue to be used for treatment, but health care providers should ascertain susceptibility of meningococcal isolates to penicillin before switching to penicillin or ampicillin. Ongoing monitoring for antimicrobial resistance among meningococcal isolates and prophylaxis failures will be important to inform treatment and prophylaxis recommendations.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Ciprofloxacin / pharmacology*
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neisseria meningitidis / drug effects
  • Neisseria meningitidis / genetics
  • Neisseria meningitidis / isolation & purification*
  • Serogroup
  • United States
  • Young Adult
  • beta-Lactamases / biosynthesis*


  • Ciprofloxacin
  • beta-Lactamases