The objectives of this study were to perform genomic and phenotypic characterization of antimicrobial resistance in Neisseria gonorrhoeae isolates recovered from urine samples from patients in St. Louis, MO, USA. Sixty-four clinical isolates were banked over a 2-year period and subjected to antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) by Kirby-Bauer disk diffusion (penicillin, tetracycline, cefuroxime, and ciprofloxacin) and gradient diffusion (tetracycline, doxycycline, azithromycin, ceftriaxone, cefixime, ciprofloxacin, gemifloxacin, and delafloxacin). The medical records for the patients were evaluated to determine the demographics, location, and prescribed treatment regimen. Isolate draft genomes were assembled from Illumina shotgun sequencing data, and resistance determinants were identified by ResFinder and PointFinder. Of the 64 isolates, 97% were nonsusceptible to penicillin, with resistant isolates all containing the blaTEM-1b gene; 78 and 81% of isolates were nonsusceptible to tetracycline and doxycycline, respectively, with resistant isolates all containing the tet(M) gene. One isolate was classified as non-wild-type to azithromycin, and all isolates were susceptible to ceftriaxone; 89% of patients received this combination of drugs as first-line therapy. Six percent of isolates were resistant to ciprofloxacin, with most resistant isolates containing multiple gyrA and parC mutations. Correlation between disk and gradient diffusion AST devices was high for tetracycline and ciprofloxacin (R2 > 99% for both). The rates of N. gonorrhoeae antibiotic resistance in St. Louis are comparable to current rates reported nationally, except ciprofloxacin resistance was less common in our cohort. Strong associations between specific genetic markers and phenotypic susceptibility testing hold promise for the utility of genotype-based diagnostic assays to guide directed antibiotic therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00373-19
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2019


  • Gonorrhea
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae
  • Urine culture


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