Culture-Independent Genotyping Improves Surveillance of Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Especially in Oropharyngeal Samples, the Netherlands, 2017 to 2018

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It is important i to monitor the transmission and antimicrobial resistance of Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG). Current surveillance relies on culturing, which frequently fails. Previously, a culture-independent genotyping method was developed based on NG multi-antigen sequence typing (NG-MAST). To determine whether crucial sequence types (STs) are missed during culture-dependent surveillance, NG-positive NAAT samples were genotyped, and the results of the culture-positive and culture-negative samples were compared. In total, 196 NG-positive NAAT samples, from January 2017 until August 2018, which were also routinely cultured, were retrospectively included. Genotyping was successful in 152 NAAT samples (77.0%), 33 NAAT samples failed, and 11 NAAT samples showed possible mixed strain infections. Oropharyngeal samples (n = 16) showed the largest increase in typing rate from 6.3% (1/16) success in culture-dependent genotyping to 81.3% (13/16) in culture-independent genotyping. Nine genogroups (n ≥ 5 samples) were found; all included both culture-positive and culture-negative NG. However, culture-independent surveillance revealed 14 additional STs in the culture-negative samples. Overall, culture-dependent surveillance could detect all genogroups, indicating that major trends could be identified with culture-dependent surveillance. However, culture-independent surveillance provides more STs, mixed infections and more oropharyngeal samples, giving a more detailed view and could result in an earlier detection of outbreaks and transmission.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2022

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