Penicillinase-producing strains of Neisseria gonorrhoeae (PPNG) were detected in nine out of 27 (3.2%) treatment failures in 310 cases of acute gonococcal urethritis in men in Lusaka, Zambia. Minimum inhibitory concentrations of penicillin for 17.2% of 233 gonococcal isolates were less than or equal to 0.05 microgram/ml, for 38.2% between 0.125 and 0.25 microgram/ml, and for 46.6% greater than or equal to 0.5 microgram/ml. At present the prevalence of PPNG in African countries is not known but is likely to increase rapidly unless simplified control schemes are adopted within the existing health care programmes. Endemic pockets of PPNG in a few countries can threaten worldwide efforts to control gonorrhoea.
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