Background The Gonococcal Antimicrobial Susceptibility Surveillance Program in Latin America and the Caribbean (GASP-LAC) in the 1990s had significant impact in identifying trends in antimicrobial susceptibility in the region. To revitalise the GASP-LAC, a survey was undertaken to determine the level of surveillance activity and the methods used for the identification and antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) of Neisseria gonorrhoeae (Ng) isolates.
Methods A structured questionnaire was distributed to potential participants to collect information regarding surveillance activities and methods used for identification and AST of Ng in LAC countries. Information was also obtained from presentations at the Workshop of the GASP-LAC in November 2010 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Results 7 countries completed the questionnaire and four provided unstructured answers regarding the methodologies. All 11 countries were interested in continuing to participate in the GASP-LAC. Of nine countries reporting, seven had an on-going country-wide network for gonococcal AST and two countries collected isolates locally, the number of isolates tested each year varied (25–400). Thayer Martin medium was used for Ng primary culture by all countries answering this question (n=8); among them, four countries used biochemical tests alone, or coupled with Gram stain (n=3) and one country, in addition to the two methods, used antigen detection and the nucleic acid amplification method. Chromogenic cephalosporin was used by all respondents (n=9) for detecting ß-lactamase production. Methods used for AST included agar dilution in 6 of 9 reporting countries, coupled with disc diffusion (n=4) and Etest (n=2); the remaining used disc diffusion alone (n=1) or coupled with Etest (n=2). CLSI interpretation criteria were used in all responding participants (n=9). Ng reference strains included ATCC49226 (n=6), coupled with WHO III, V, VII (n=2) or WHO A-E (n=1).
Conclusions Different levels of surveillance were noted between countries probably due to various resource availabilities. On the basis of these responses the GASP-LAC Co-ordinating Centre will re-establish and consolidate the GASP-LAC.
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