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Genitourin Med. 1989 Apr;65(2):86-91.

Associations between serotype and susceptibility to antibiotics of Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

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Department of Medical Microbiology, Wright-Fleming Institute, St Mary's Hospital Medical School, London.


A serological classification scheme for Neisseria gonorrhoeae was used to investigate the epidemiological associations between gonococcal serotype and other bacterial and host characters. Six hundred and fifty clinical isolates of non-penicillinase producing N gonorrhoeae from the Praed Street Clinic, St Mary's Hospital, were included in this study. The strains collected represented 41 serovars, although 485 (75%) of the 650 strains belonged to five serovars. Strains of serovar IA-1/2 were commonly isolated from the cervix and tended to be sensitive to penicillin and moderately resistant to erythromycin. Strains of serovar IB-1 showed bimodal patterns of susceptibility to both penicillin and erythromycin and were obtained equally from all anatomical sites. Strains of serovar IB-2 were isolated more often from the rectum and were associated with homosexually acquired infections, whereas those of serovar IB-3 were sensitive to erythromycin and were rarely isolated from the rectum. Strains of IB-5/7 were more resistant to penicillin and erythromycin than strains of other serovars. The serological classification of N gonorrhoeae is thus a powerful tool that may be used to study biological characteristics of the gonococcus, such as susceptibility to antimicrobials and site tropism.

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