OBJECTIVE--To study the epidemiology of antibiotic resistant strains of Neisseria gonorrhoeae from sexually transmitted disease clinics in The Gambia. MATERIALS AND METHODS--One hundred and sixty five strains of N gonorrhoeae were tested for their antibiotic susceptibility, auxotype, serotype, and plasmid content. RESULTS--Of the total population 84 (51%) were non-penicillinase producing (nonPPNG) and 81 (49%) penicillinase-producing N gonorrhoeae (PPNG). There were 16 serovars, five auxotypes and 33 auxotype/serovar (A/S) classes in the total population and the nonPPNG. Among PPNG only five serovars, two auxotypes and nine A/S classes were found. One A/S class predominated, NR/IB-7 (86 isolates), of which 66 (77%) were PPNG and the remainder were chromosomally-mediated resistant N gonorrhoeae (CMRNG). These strains also showed reduced susceptibility to ciprofloxacin, ceftriaxone and tetracycline and were evenly distributed among patient groups. CONCLUSION--We have identified a relatively homogeneous gonococcal population with a core group of isolates exhibiting high levels of antibiotic resistance.
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