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J Antimicrob Chemother. 2006 Sep;58(3):587-93. Epub 2006 Jul 1.

European Surveillance of Sexually Transmitted Infections (ESSTI): the first combined antimicrobial susceptibility data for Neisseria gonorrhoeae in Western Europe.

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Sexually Transmitted Bacteria Reference Laboratory, Health Protection Agency Centre for Infections, London, UK.



To conduct a sentinel surveillance study for antimicrobial resistance in Neisseria gonorrhoeae in Western Europe in 2004 as part of the European Surveillance of Sexually Transmitted Infections (ESSTI) Programme.


Gonococcal isolates were collected from centres in 12 countries and transferred to two reference centres for testing. The same methodology of agar dilution was used to determine susceptibility to a range of antimicrobials used for the treatment of gonorrhoea including azithromycin, ceftriaxone, ciprofloxacin, penicillin and tetracycline. Quality control between the two laboratories was assessed during the testing.


A total of 1055 gonococcal isolates were collected, of which 965 (91.5%) were retrievable for susceptibility testing. Resistance was found to be high to ciprofloxacin (30.9%), but also present to penicillin (21.3%) and tetracycline (59.8%). Azithromycin resistance was above 5%, the first time this has been documented in Europe. Three isolates had a low level of resistance to ceftriaxone. With regard to quality control between the two reference laboratories, 92% of MIC results were within two dilutions.


These are the first sentinel surveillance data for Western Europe for N. gonorrhoeae and they have implications for choice of antimicrobial for treatment of gonorrhoea on a European and a local level. This is the start of the formation of a European gonococcal antimicrobial surveillance programme (EURO-GASP).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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