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Am J Epidemiol. 2013 Oct 15;178(8):1289-95. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwt115. Epub 2013 Sep 18.

Characteristics of males infected with common Neisseria gonorrhoeae sequence types in the Gonococcal Isolate Surveillance Project, San Francisco, California, 2009.


We analyzed 265 urethral Neisseria gonorrhoeae specimens collected from symptomatic males at San Francisco's municipal sexually transmitted disease clinic, a participant in the Gonococcal Isolate Surveillance Project, during 2009. We used N. gonorrhoeae multiantigen sequence typing to describe characteristics of patients infected with common sequence type families. Specimens were classified into 6 homology-based families and 1 additional family of all other identified strains. Strain family results were combined with results of culture-based antibiotic sensitivity minimum inhibitory concentration, sociodemographic and behavioral risk data collected at the clinic, and presence or absence of the mosaic penicillin-binding protein 2 (penA) allele. Characteristics of patients were compared across strain families through the use of χ(2) statistics. Among men who have sex with men, strain distribution differed by those reporting receptive oral sex as their only urethral exposure (P = 0.04), by number of sex partners (P = 0.03), and by race/ethnicity (P < 0.001); there were no differences by age or human immunodeficiency virus status. Also, among men who have sex with men, strain family distributions differed for culture specimens with reduced susceptibility to a range of antibiotics, as well as with presence of the mosaic penA allele (all P < 0.001). The combination of molecular, phenotypic, and epidemiologic data on N. gonorrhoeae infection could help develop a more complete epidemiology of gonorrhea in the United States.


Neisseria gonorrhoeae; Neisseria gonorrhoeae multiantigen sequence typing; antimicrobial resistance; men who have sex with men

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