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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Antimicrobial susceptibility and genetic characteristics of Neisseria gonorrhoeae isolates from Vietnam, 2011

Birgitta Olsen1, Pham Thi Lan2, Daniel Golparian3, Emma Johansson3, Tran Hau Khang2 and Magnus Unemo3*

Author Affiliations

1 School of Health and Medical Sciences, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden

2 Department of Dermato-Venerology, Hanoi Medical University; and National Hospital of Dermatology and Venerology, Hanoi, Vietnam

3 WHO Collaborating Centre for Gonorrhoea and Other STIs, National Reference Laboratory for Pathogenic Neisseria, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Clinical Microbiology, Örebro University Hospital, Örebro SE-701 85, Sweden

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2013, 13:40  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-13-40

Published: 25 January 2013

Abstract

Background

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in Neisseria gonorrhoeae is a major public health concern worldwide. In Vietnam, knowledge regarding N. gonorrhoeae prevalence and AMR is limited, and data concerning genetic characteristics of N. gonorrhoeae is totally lacking. Herein, we investigated the phenotypic AMR (previous, current and possible future treatment options), genetic resistance determinants for extended-spectrum cephalosporins (ESCs), and genotypic distribution of N. gonorrhoeae isolated in 2011 in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Methods

N. gonorrhoeae isolates from Hanoi, Vietnam isolated in 2011 (n = 108) were examined using antibiograms (Etest for 10 antimicrobials), Neisseria gonorrhoeae multi-antigen sequence typing (NG-MAST), and sequencing of ESC resistance determinants (penA, mtrR and penB).

Results

The levels of in vitro resistance were as follows: ciprofloxacin 98%, tetracycline 82%, penicillin G 48%, azithromycin 11%, ceftriaxone 5%, cefixime 1%, and spectinomycin 0%. The MICs of gentamicin (0.023-6 mg/L), ertapenem (0.002-0.125 mg/L) and solithromycin (<0.016-0.25 mg/L) were relatively low. No penA mosaic alleles were found, however, 78% of the isolates contained an alteration of amino acid A501 (A501V (44%) and A501T (34%)) in the encoded penicillin-binding protein 2. A single nucleotide (A) deletion in the inverted repeat of the promoter region of the mtrR gene and amino acid alterations in MtrR was observed in 91% and 94% of the isolates, respectively. penB resistance determinants were detected in 87% of the isolates. Seventy-five different NG-MAST STs were identified, of which 59 STs have not been previously described.

Conclusions

In Vietnam, the highly diversified gonococcal population displayed high in vitro resistance to antimicrobials previously recommended for gonorrhoea treatment (with exception of spectinomycin), but resistance also to the currently recommended ESCs were found. Nevertheless, the MICs of three potential future treatment options were low. It is essential to strengthen the diagnostics, case reporting, and epidemiologic surveillance of gonorrhoea in Vietnam. Furthermore, the surveillance of gonococcal AMR and gonorrhoea treatment failures is imperative to reinforce. Research regarding novel antimicrobial treatment strategies (e.g., combination therapy) and new antimicrobials is crucial for future treatment of gonorrhoea.

Keywords:
Neisseria gonorrhoeae; Gonorrhoea; Vietnam; Antimicrobial resistance; Extended-spectrum cephalosporins (ESCs); Ceftriaxone; Cefixime; Resistance determinants; penA; NG-MAST