Geographical spread of drug-resistant gonorrhoea is growing


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Univadis Medical News
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The latest figures from the European Gonococcal Antimicrobial Surveillance Programme (Euro-GASP) show Neisseria gonorrhoeae continues to show high levels of azithromycin resistance. 

In 2017, 27 European Union/European Economic Area countries collected and tested 3,248 gonococcal isolates which revealed cefixime and azithromycin resistance (1.9% and 7.5%, respectively) and remained relatively unchanged compared with 2016 (2.1% and 7.5%). However, the volume of countries reporting resistant isolates for each antimicrobial increased.

No isolates with resistance to ceftriaxone were detected in 2017 or in 2016, in contrast to one in 2015, five in 2014 and seven in 2013.

“The fact that we have not seen ceftriaxone resistance among the tested isolates for two consecutive years is promising. But at the same time, the persistent level of resistance to azithromycin across Europe is a major concern for us because it compromises the recommended dual therapy with ceftriaxone and azithromycin," said Gianfranco Spiteri from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). 

The ECDC will publish its revised regional response plan to control multi-drug-resistant gonorrhoea later this year. 

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