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Ceftriaxone-Resistant Gonorrhea - China, 2022.

Gonorrhea is a widespread sexually transmitted infection; in 2022, China reported 96,313 cases of gonorrhea, making it the fourth most common notifiable infectious disease in the country after viral hepatitis, pulmonary tuberculosis, and syphilis. The rise in prevalence in antimicrobial-resistant strains, particularly the international spread of ceftriaxone-resistant clones, poses a formidable challenge to gonorrhea control. The China Gonococcal Resistance Surveillance Program (China-GRSP), established in 1987 and covering 19 of 34 provincial-level administrative units, continuously monitors gonococcal antimicrobial resistance. In 2022, 13 China-GRSP sentinel sites collected 2,804 gonococcal isolates, representing 2.9% of all cases reported in China, and 4.1% of cases reported in the 13 participating provinces. The prevalence of Neisseria gonorrhoeae resistance to ceftriaxone was 8.1%, approximately three times the 2017 rate of 2.9%; five provinces reported >10% ceftriaxone resistance. Resistance prevalences to cefixime, azithromycin, tetracycline, penicillin, and ciprofloxacin were 16.0%, 16.9%, 77.1%, 77.8%, and 97.6%, respectively. Only one case of spectinomycin resistance was reported. These data highlight a substantial increase in ceftriaxone resistance from 2017 to 2022. Effective diagnosis and treatment and appropriate management of sex partners are essential to protect the health of infected persons and prevent ongoing transmission of gonorrhea, including transmission of resistant strains. Identifying reasons for the spread of ceftriaxone-resistant N. gonorrhoeae in China could guide strategies, such as antibiotic stewardship, to mitigate the rising resistance rate and curb the spread of resistant strains.

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