Objective In the Netherlands, the Gonococcal Resistance to Antimicrobials Surveillance (GRAS) programme is carried out at Centres for Sexual Health (CSH), which provide care for sexual high-risk populations. However, half of gonorrhoea infections are diagnosed in general practice (GP). We performed a pilot study to explore expanding GRAS to GPs using laboratory-based surveillance. Additionally, antimicrobial resistance patterns of GP and CSH patients were compared. Methods Three laboratories from different regions were included, which all perform gonorrhoea diagnostics for GPs and used ESwab for patient sampling. Additional culturing for all GP patients with gonorrhoea took place from February to July 2018. After positive PCR-nucleic acid amplification test, residual ESwab material was used for culture. In positive cultures, susceptibility testing was performed for azithromycin, ciprofloxacin, cefotaxime and ceftriaxone using Etest. Results During the study period, 484 samples were put in culture. 16.5% of cultures were positive (n=80). Antimicrobial resistance levels were low, with 2.6% resistance to azithromycin, 21.5% to ciprofloxacin and 0.0% to cefotaxime and ceftriaxone. Resistance levels in CSH GRAS data (first half of 2018) were 19.2% for azithromycin, 31.5% for ciprofloxacin, 1.9% for cefotaxime and 0.0% for ceftriaxone. Conclusions Culture positivity rates for GP patients were low, probably due to long transportation times and awaiting PCR test results before attempting culture. Positivity rates might be improved by making changes in sampling and/or transportation methods, but that would require involvement of GPs and patients instead of keeping the surveillance lab based. Resistance levels appeared to be lower at GPs than at the CSH, indicating that resistance might emerge first in more high-risk populations. It is important to consider all potentially relevant patient populations when establishing a gonococcal antimicrobial resistance surveillance programme. However, based on the findings from this study the current GRAS programme will not be extended to GPs.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1136/sextrans-2019-054006, hdl.handle.net/1765/128730
Journal Sexually Transmitted Infections: an international peer-reviewed journal for health professionals and researchers in all areas of sexual health
Citation
Visser, M., van Westreenen, M, van Bergen, J, & van Benthem, BH. (2019). Low gonorrhoea antimicrobial resistance and culture positivity rates in general practice: a pilot study. Sexually Transmitted Infections: an international peer-reviewed journal for health professionals and researchers in all areas of sexual health, 96(3), 220–222. doi:10.1136/sextrans-2019-054006