Background Between November 2014 and March 2015, eight high level azithromycin resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG) isolates (MIC > 256 mg/l) were identified by Sexually Transmitted Bacteria Reference Unit Microbiology Services (STBRU) from our clinic. An Outbreak Control Team was established to actively manage the outbreak. We report the actions and outcomes of the clinical team.
Immediate actions Clinicians reminded to take cultures from all exposed sites when NG suspected and before any treatment; first face-to-face contact is most effective in obtaining partner details; TOC at 2 weeks essential. Enhanced PN commenced. Where initial PN incomplete, or withheld, at least two further attempts of face-to-face interview or phone call. TOC non-attendees contacted by phone call and letter, giving further opportunity to pursue PN. Advice sought from STBRU about treating pharyngeal infections to avoid pressure on ceftriaxone by its use as monotherapy. Investigation of how the first eight cases were missed despite clinic systems in place for checking positive NG cultures.
Outcomes By December 2015: 16 infected people identified with whole genome sequencing suggesting clonal outbreak. All were heterosexual, most aged 16–20 years. No ethnic or geographic clustering. 12/16 attended for TOC which were negative. 28 contacts disclosed, 16 traceable all attended - 3 NG negative, 13 NG positive, (12/13 azithromycin resistant, 1 NAAT positive but culture negative). PN identified 1 cluster of 4 and 3 clusters of 2
Lessons learned NG cultures and sensitivities remain essential to detect antimicrobial resistance. Despite enhanced PN there are many untraceable contacts in young heterosexuals. Clinics need robust administrative systems for timely detection of antimicrobial resistance
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