Though the number of penicillinase producing Neisseria gonorrhoeae (PPNG) strains isolated in Canada comprises under 1% of all gonococcal isolates, it continues to increase appreciably each year. Most strains are imported from areas of endemic infection with PPNG strains. Two local outbreaks in 1984, however, were notable for the number of patients infected and for the distinctive phenotypes of the strains. One outbreak was caused by a wild type strain, of serovar BACJK with a new 3.05 megadalton penicillinase encoding plasmid, whereas the other was caused by strains with the Asia+ plasmid type, serovar AE and with a proline and ornithine requiring auxotype. Five plasmid patterns (Africa+, Africa-, Asia+, Asia-, and Toronto+) were observed among the PPNG strains. The association between plasmid content and specific auxotype (such as Asia plasmid with proline requiring auxotype or Africa plasmid with wild type auxotype) and inhibition by phenylalanine continues to be unexplained.
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