Background: Knowledge on antimicrobial drug resistance and genetic characteristics of Neisseria gonorrhoeae isolates circulating in India, Pakistan, and Bhutan is sorely lacking. In this paper, we describe the prevalence of antimicrobial resistance and molecular characteristics of N. gonorrhoeae isolates from India, Pakistan, and Bhutan in 2007-2011.Methods: Antimicrobial susceptibility and β-lactamase production were tested for 65 N. gonorrhoeae isolates from India (n=40), Pakistan (n=18) and Bhutan (n=7) using Etest methodology (eight antimicrobials) and nitrocefin solution, respectively. Resistance determinants, i.e. penA, mtrR, porB1b, gyrA, and parC, were sequenced. N. gonorrhoeae multiantigen sequence typing (NG-MAST) was performed for molecular epidemiology.Results: The highest resistance level was observed for ciprofloxacin (94%), followed by penicillin G (68%), erythromycin (62%), tetracycline (55%), and azithromycin (7.7%). All the isolates were susceptible to ceftriaxone, cefixime, and spectinomycin. Thirty-four (52%) of the isolates were producing β-lactamase. No penA mosaic alleles or A501-altered alleles of penicillin-binding protein 2 were identified. Forty-nine NG-MAST STs were identified, of which 42 STs have not been previously described worldwide.Conclusions: Based on this study, ceftriaxone, cefixime, and spectinomycin can be used as an empirical first-line therapy for gonorrhoea in India, Pakistan, and Bhutan, whereas ciprofloxacin, penicillin G, tetracycline, erythromycin, and azithromycin should not be. It is imperative to strengthen the laboratory infrastructure in this region, as well as to expand the phenotypic and genetic surveillance of antimicrobial resistance, emergence of new resistance, particularly, to extended-spectrum cephalosporins, and molecular epidemiology.
- Antimicrobial resistance
- Southeast Asia