Background Neisseria gonorrhoeae sequence type (ST) 26 has been documented across Scotland since the introduction of N gonorrhoeae multi-antigen sequence typing (NG-MAST) in 2004. Scottish incidents of ST26 have historically been associated with men who have sex with men (MSM). In November 2010, it was noted that an increased proportion of ST26 isolates were documented among women within our local Health Board area.
Aims To explore the epidemiology of Scottish N gonorrhoeae ST26 strains, with reference to a rising incidence of gonococcal (GC) diagnoses within our local area.
Methods All Scottish GC isolates (2004–2011), and nucleic acid amplification positive specimens where no isolate was available (2009–2011), were analysed by NG-MAST.
Discussion These data describe that up until November 2010, N gonorrhoeae ST26 in Scotland was predominantly found in men, indicating its association with MSM networks. The spike of ST26 strains in 2010/2011 in both men and women within our local Health Board area imply its introduction to a heterosexual network. These data demonstrate the utility of NG-MAST for the epidemiological study of GC infection. In particular, the data describe the manner in which gonococcal STs can become established and transferred between different regions and population groups, which may be assumed to have separate sexual networks.
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