The incidence of Neisseria gonorrhoeae with reduced susceptibility to quinolones increased from 0.18% (63 of 3285) in 1992 to 0.56% (15 of 2663) in 1993 and 0.62% (46 of 2846) in 1994. In all, 65 of the 67 isolates of Neisseria gonorrhoeae with decreased susceptibility to quinolones were characterised by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), auxotyping, serotyping and plasmid content. The strains were distributed among 14 auxotype/serovar (A/S) classes. Thirty isolates (46.2%) which were penicillin-susceptible with ciprofloxacin MIC90 of 0.12 mg/L and norfloxacin MIC90 of 1.0 mg/L belonged to a single A/S class, OUHL/IA-2. All but two of the 30 isolates had identical PFGE restriction profiles with NheI restriction endonuclease. Fifteen isolates (23.1%) with MICs in the intermediate (or resistant) categories for penicillin and with ciprofloxacin and norfloxacin MIC90 of 0.25 and 4.0 mg/L and (0.5 and 4.0 mg/L) respectively, belonged to A/S class P/IB-1. The 15 isolates showed nine different patterns with NheI and eight patterns with SpeI restriction endonucleases. Two of three beta-lactamase-producing (PPNG) isolates belonged to A/S class P/IB-5 and had a dissimilar PFGE restriction profile with NheI endonuclease; the other isolate belonged to A/S class P/IB-8. The remaining 17 isolates were distributed among 11 A/S classes. Three isolates within the common A/S class NR/IB-1 were subdivided into two types by PFGE as were three isolates belonging to A/S class NR/IB-2. Overall the 65 isolates of N. gonorrhoeae were distributed into 30 NheI and 26 SpeI macrorestriction profiles. All but one isolate harboured the 2.6-MDa cryptic plasmid and 18 isolates carried the 24.5-MDa transferable plasmid. The three PPNG isolates carried the 4.5-MDa Asian beta-lactamase-producing plasmid and a 25.2-MDa conjugative plasmid was found in the two TRNG isolates.