Background: The emergence of resistance and treatment failures to third generation cephalosporins prompted the revitalization of the global Gonococcal Antimicrobial Surveillance Program (GASP) to ensure that information regarding trends of the antimicrobial susceptibility of Neisseria gonorrhoeae isolates is up-to-date. Accordingly, former and potential GASP participants in Latin America and the Caribbean were contacted to reinitiate the GASP network in the region and to undertake a retrospective analysis of the antimicrobial susceptibility of N. gonorrhoeae isolates between 2000 and 2009.
Methods: Eleven countries participated in this retrospective analysis reporting on the susceptibility of N. gonorrhoeae isolates to up to 6 antibiotics as well as national treatment guidelines over the period. Antimicrobial susceptibility determination was carried out using combination of agar dilution and disk diffusion (Clinical Laboratory and Standards Institute) or Etest. Antimicrobial susceptibility data from each country were aggregated and analyzed for antimicrobial resistance trends in the region.
Results: More than 11,400 N. gonorrhoeae isolates were tested for antimicrobial susceptibility: 6 countries tested N. gonorrhoeae over the entire period and 5 countries tested sporadically. Decreased susceptibility to ceftriaxone was reported from 1 country (7 isolates, MICs >0.25 μg/ml) in 2007. No resistance to spectinomycin was reported. From 2000 to 2009, aggregated ciprofloxacin resistance increased from 2% (19/784) to 31% (311/1015) in 9 countries and azithromycin resistance increased from 6% (39/646) to 23% (225/962) in 4/6 reporting countries. Overall, resistance to penicillin and tetracycline decreased from 35% (441/1241) to 26% (258/975) and from 60% (476/792) to 35% (323/931), respectively.
In 2009, resistance to gentamicin (3%, 4/122), chloramphenicol (5%, 6/120), and ofloxacin (2%, 6/120) was reported from 1 country.
Conclusions: The report of ceftriaxone-resistant isolates coupled with the emergence and spread of resistance to ciprofloxacin and azithromycin in Latin America and the Caribbean in the 2000s indicates the importance of active surveillance of N. gonorrhoeae antimicrobial susceptibility to determine antimicrobial resistance emerging trends so as to promptly inform and guide the development of effective treatment options for gonococcal infections.