Emergence of ciprofloxacin-resistant Neisseria meningitidis B from asymptomatic carriers during an outbreak in Peru, 2017

Eduardo Juscamayta-López, Faviola Valdivia, Sara Morales, Luis Fernando Donaires, Victor Fiestas-Solórzano, Marianela Oré, Paul Pachas, Nancy León-Janampa, Ronnie Gavilán

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Asymptomatic carriers are a likely source of transmission of Neisseria meningitidis to close contacts who are placed at a higher risk for invasive meningococcal disease (IMD). Although N. meningitidis ciprofloxacin-resistance is rare, there have been an increase in the reports of resistant isolates mainly in patients diagnosed with IMD, and little is known about the N. meningitidis ciprofloxacin-resistance in the carrier populations. We performed a pharyngeal carriage study during a 2017 military setting outbreak in Peru, caused by a ciprofloxacin-resistant N. meningitidis B. The isolates analysed came from two hospitalized cases and six asymptomatic carriers. Whole-genome sequence-based analysis was performed and showed that strains carrying the Thr91Ile mutation, in the gene encoding for subunit A of DNA gyrase (gyrA), were responsible for the fluoroquinolone resistance (MICs ≥0.256 µg ml−1) and were closely related to highly virulent strains from France, Norway and the UK. Phylogenetic analysis of the gyrA gene revealed that likely these Peruvian isolates acquired resistance through horizontal gene transfer from Neisseria lactamica. Our study provides evidence for the emergence and propagation of ciprofloxacin-resistant N. meningitidis B from asymptomatic carriers, and recommends the introduction of serogroup B vaccines for high-risk populations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number001245
JournalJournal of Medical Microbiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Asymptomatic carrier
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Invasive meningococcal disease
  • Neisseria meningitidis B


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