Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in Neisseria gonorrhoeae has emerged for essentially all antimicrobials following their introduction into clinical practice. During the latest decade, susceptibility to the last remaining options for antimicrobial monotherapy, the extended-spectrum cephalosporins (ESC), has markedly decreased internationally and treatment failures with these ESCs have been verified. In response to this developing situation, WHO and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) have published global and region-specific response plans, respectively. One main component of these action/response plans is to enhance the surveillance of AMR and treatment failures. This paper describes the perspectives from the diverse WHO European Region (53 countries), including the independent countries of the former Soviet Union, regarding gonococcal AMR surveillance networks. The WHO European Region has a high prevalence of resistance to all previously recommended antimicrobials, and most of the first strictly verified treatment failures with cefixime and ceftriaxone were also reported from Europe. In the European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA), the European gonococcal antimicrobial surveillance programme (Euro-GASP) funded by the ECDC is running. In 2011, the Euro-GASP included 21/31 (68%) EU/EEA countries, and the programme is further strengthened annually. However, in the non-EU/EEA countries, internationally reported and quality assured gonococcal AMR data are lacking in 87% of the countries and, worryingly, appropriate support for establishment of a GASP is still lacking. Accordingly, national and international support, including political and financial commitment, for gonococcal AMR surveillance in the non-EU/EEA countries of the WHO European Region is essential.
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