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Biomed Res Int. 2019 Jan 20;2019:3180580. doi: 10.1155/2019/3180580. eCollection 2019.

Evidence for Clonally Associated Increasing Rates of Azithromycin Resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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Instituto de Microbiologia Paulo de Góes, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro 21941-902, Brazil.
Laboratório Nacional de Computação Científica, Petrópolis, 26651-075, Brazil.
DASA-Rua Xavier Pinheiro, 439, Parque Duque, 25085-007, Duque de Caxias, RJ, Brazil.


Azithromycin is one of the drugs used in the combined therapy for syndromic treatment of gonorrhoea in many countries, including Brazil. Our research group, which receives isolates from clinical laboratories since 2006, has detected, after 2016, a tendency of rising rates of azithromycin resistance, with isolates showing higher minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs) than those previously reported in this country. In this study, we report the susceptibility to azithromycin of 93 N. gonorrhoeae isolates obtained between 2014 and 2017. Strains with MIC ≥2 μg/mL were characterized according to azithromycin resistance mechanisms and strain typing. Results indicate that azithromycin resistance has emerged in all these years in unrelated MLST-STs, but after 2016 a clonal complex connected with ST1901 has been more frequently detected, grouping isolates with MIC varying from 2 to 64 μg/mL, with DelA mutations at the mtrR promoter region associated or not with mutations at rrl alleles. High rates of azithromycin resistance may compromise the use of this drug in the combined therapy with ceftriaxone. Inclusion of Rio de Janeiro in the Brazilian gonococcal surveillance program is important to evaluate if this data indicates an epidemiological phenomenon in the country.

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