Antimicrobial susceptibility of commensal Neisseria in a general population and men who have sex with men in Belgium

Jolein Gyonne Elise Laumen, Christophe Van Dijck, Saïd Abdellati, Irith De Baetselier, Gabriela Serrano, Sheeba Santhini Manoharan-Basil, Emmanuel Bottieau, Delphine Martiny, Chris Kenyon

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Non-pathogenic Neisseria are a reservoir of antimicrobial resistance genes for pathogenic Neisseria meningitidis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Men who have sex with men (MSM) are at risk of co-colonization with resistant non-pathogenic and pathogenic Neisseria. We assessed if the antimicrobial susceptibility of non-pathogenic Neisseria among MSM differs from a general population and if antimicrobial exposure impacts susceptibility. We recruited 96 participants at our center in Belgium: 32 employees, 32 MSM who did not use antibiotics in the previous 6 months, and 32 MSM who did. Oropharyngeal Neisseria were cultured and identified with MALDI-TOF-MS. Minimum inhibitory concentrations for azithromycin, ceftriaxone and ciprofloxacin were determined using E-tests® and compared between groups with non-parametric tests. Non-pathogenic Neisseria from employees as well as MSM were remarkably resistant. Those from MSM were significantly less susceptible than employees to azithromycin and ciprofloxacin (p < 0.0001, p < 0.001), but not ceftriaxone (p = 0.3). Susceptibility did not differ significantly according to recent antimicrobial exposure in MSM. Surveilling antimicrobial susceptibility of non-pathogenic Neisseria may be a sensitive way to assess impact of antimicrobial exposure in a population. The high levels of antimicrobial resistance in this survey indicate that novel resistance determinants may be readily available for future transfer from non-pathogenic to pathogenic Neisseria.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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