Changing antimicrobial resistance profiles among neisseria gonorrhoeae isolates in Italy, 2003 to 2012

Anna Carannante, Giovanna Renna, Ivano Dal Conte, Valeria Ghisetti, Alberto Matteelli, Grazia Prignano, Giampaolo Impara, Marco Cusini, Antonietta D'Antuono, Caterina Vocale, Raffaele Antonetti, Marina Gaino, Marina Busetti, Maria Agnese Latino, Antonella Mencacci, Carmen Bonanno, Maria Carmela Cava, Cristina Giraldi, Paola Stefanelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The emergence of Neisseria gonorrhoeae isolates displaying resistance to antimicrobial agents is a major public health concern and a serious issue related to the occurrence of further un treatable gonorrhea infections. A retrospective analysis on 1,430 N. gonorrhoeae isolates, collected from 2003 through 2012, for antimicrobial susceptibility by Etest and molecular characterization by Neisseria gonorrhoeae multiantigen sequence typing (NG-MAST) was carried out in Italy. Azithromycin-resistant gonococci decreased from 14% in 2007 to 2.2% in 2012. Similarly, isolates with high MICs to cefixime (>0.125 mg/liter) decreased from 11% in 2008 to 3.3% in 2012. The ciprofloxacin resistance rate remains quite stable, following an increasing trend up to 64% in 2012. The percentage of penicillinase-producing N. gonorrhoeae (PPNG) significantly declined from 77% in 2003 to 7% in 2012. A total of 81 multidrug-resistant (MDR) gonococci were identified, showing 11 different antimicrobial resistance patterns. These were isolated from men who have sex with men (MSM) and from heterosexual patients. Two sequence types (STs), ST661 and ST1407, were the most common. Genogroup 1407, which included cefixime-, ciprofloxacin-, and azithromycin-resistant isolates, was found. In conclusion, a change in the antimicrobial resistance profiles among gonococci was identified in Italy together with a percentage of MDR isolates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5871-5876
Number of pages6
JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pharmacology
  • Infectious Diseases


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