Bridging of Neisseria gonorrhoeae lineages across sexual networks in the HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis era

Deborah A. Williamson, Eric P.F. Chow, Claire L. Gorrie, Torsten Seemann, Danielle J. Ingle, Nasra Higgins, Marion Easton, George Taiaroa, Yonatan H. Grad, Jason C. Kwong, Christopher K. Fairley, Marcus Y. Chen, Benjamin P. Howden

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32 Citations (Scopus)


Whole genome sequencing (WGS) has been used to investigate transmission of Neisseria gonorrhoeae, but to date, most studies have not combined genomic data with detailed information on sexual behaviour to define the extent of transmission across population risk groups (bridging). Here, through combined epidemiological and genomic analysis of 2,186N. gonorrhoeae isolates from Australia, we show widespread transmission of N. gonorrhoeae within and between population groups. We describe distinct transmission clusters associated with men who have sex with men (MSM) and heterosexuals, and men who have sex with men and women (MSMW) are identified as a possible bridging population between these groups. Further, the study identifies transmission of N. gonorrhoeae between HIV-positive and HIV-negative individuals receiving pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). Our data highlight several groups that can be targeted for interventions aimed at improving gonorrhoea control, including returning travellers, sex workers, and PrEP users.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3988
Number of pages10
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sep 2019

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