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Background: The prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) has been increasing in China since the 1980s. Because gonorrhea is the most frequently reported STD there, information on the antimicrobial susceptibility of Neisseria gonorrhoeae will aid in its control.

Goal: To investigate the antimicrobial susceptibility of N gonorrhoeae isolates in China and to provide data for formulation of treatment guidelines and control policies.

Methods: The agar dilution technique was used to determine antimicrobial susceptibility, and acidimetric method was used to test for penicillinase-producing N gonorrhoeae.

Results: A total of 3186 gonococcal isolates were tested during the 6-year study period. The rate of resistance to penicillin was 66.70%; 8.14% of isolates were penicillinase-producing N gonorrhoeae. The percentage of tetracycline-resistant isolates was 92.03%, and that of highly tetracycline-resistant isolates was 4.65%. The rate of resistance to ciprofloxacin was also relatively high (34.25%). The rates of resistance to spectinomycin and ceftriaxone were 0.44% and 0.57%.

Conclusions: The gonococcal isolates in China are relatively highly resistant to penicillin, tetracycline, and ciprofloxacin, but most of them are still susceptible to spectinomycin and ceftriaxone. Standardized treatment of gonorrhea is needed to prevent further spread of resistant gonococcal strains.

(C) Copyright 2002 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association