National Reference Center for Gonococci

As of 2016, the Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene in Vienna in thePublic Health Business Unit has assumed the tasks of a National Reference Center forNeisseria gonorrhoeaegonorrhea. Among other things, the monitoring of antimicrobial susceptibility and the collection of epidemiological data, in cooperation with national and international partners, is an essential part of the tasks of the reference center, especially since the resistance situation can change relatively quickly, resulting in changes in therapy recommendations. The preparation of annual reports and the provision of advice to physicians are further components of this work. The current resistance situation can be found in the AURES or the annual report. With the tasks as a reference center, we have also taken over the Austrian representation in the European Gonococcal Antimicrobial Surveillance Programme (Euro-GASP). Within the framework of this project, gonococcal isolates including epidemiological data from several European countries are collected annually for supraregional resistance testing. The Institute is supported by the Microbiological Laboratory Möst, Innsbruck, in the collection and resistance testing of gonococcal strains as well as in recommendations for therapy and diagnostics and the preparation of reports.

Our services

  • Cultivation of Neisseria gonorrhoeae
  • Detection of Neisseria gonorrhoeae by molecular biological methods
  • Outbreak clarification
  • Participation in European ring trials
  • Maintenance of a reference strain collection
  • Consultation on questions of diagnostics, epidemiology, therapy, measures and prevention
  • Reporting
  • Monitoring the development of antibiotic resistance

In the context of the reference activity we ask microbiological laboratories/hospitals to send us gonococcal isolates (AGES, Institute for Medical Microbiology and Hygiene, Dr. Sonja Pleininger, phone: +43 50555-37101, Währingerstraße 25a, 1090 Vienna). Free of charge for the sender, a resistance test will be performed according to the guidelines of EUCAST (European Committee on Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing) and the isolates will be whole-genome sequenced in selected cases (resistant strains). Fresh cultures in transport media (e.g. VWR Transystem amies with CH aluminum applicator rayon tipped) are best suited for shipping the strains. Please use the appropriate submission form with the appropriate reference to the medical diagnostic test material and the necessary patient, clinical and epidemiological data.

In addition, gonococcal isolates can be sent with a referral form to the MB-LAB - Microbiological Laboratory (Dr. Eigentler, Tel.: +43 (0)512-563380, Franz-Fischer-Straße 7b, 6020 Innsbruck). Please also use the corresponding submission form with the appropriate reference to the medical-diagnostic examination material as well as the necessary patient data, clinical and epidemiological data.

Sample collection

In principle, we recommend dual diagnostics (culture and PCR) for suspected gonorrhea. Molecular biological testing (PCR) has a somewhat higher sensitivity and also offers the possibility of simultaneous detection of coinfection with Chlamydia trachomatis (and Mycoplasma genitalium). However, only cultural detection allows sensitivity testing of the germs, which is essential for an individual therapy strategy and makes an important contribution to the ongoing monitoring of resistance development. Gonococci die rapidly on dry swabs, but can usually be cultured in a suitable transport medium (e.g. VWR Transystem amies with CH Aluminium applicator rayon tipped) even after a longer transport time (48-72 hours).


Priv.-Doz. Mag. Dr. Alexander Indra

Last updated: 10.10.2023

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