Apr 24, 2016

‘Super Gonorrhea’

By Paul Liotta
England’s chief medical officer says that gonorrhea is at risk of becoming an untreatable disease.

Dame Sally Davies wrote to all general practitioners and pharmacies to ensure the prescription of the correct drugs after a national public health alert in September of a “super gonorrhea” — the Guardian reported.

“Gonorrhea is at risk of becoming an untreatable disease due to the continuing emergence of antimicrobial resistance,” Davies writes

“It is therefore extremely important that suboptimal treatment does not occur.”

A study from earlier this year by Public Health England showed that doctors were still prescribing the antibiotic ciprofloxacin even though it has not been recommended since 2005.

“We know that gonorrhea is resistant to quite a lot of antibiotics and does develop resistance quite rapidly to new antibiotics as well,” lead author of the study Dr. Gwenda Hughes said.

“The problem is obviously that if people are prescribing the wrong antibiotics, the patient won’t be effectively treated.”

PHE identified at least 16 cases of the super strain that is resistant to the antibiotic azithromycin — one of the few antibiotics known to treat the disease.

 All of the cases occurred in heterosexual patients from the northern England, but some patients reported partners in other parts of the country.

Gonorrhea is the second most prevalent bacterial sexually transmitted infection that is required to be reported, with chlamydia being the first. The CDC has published similar papers about drug-resistant strains.

Patients usually experience discharge or pain when urinating, but 10% of men and nearly half of women show no symptoms.

If untreated, the disease can lead to infertility and potentially life-threatening pelvic inflammation in women. If a woman has gonorrhea while pregnant, the disease can cause permanent blindness to newborns.

Dr. Andrew Lee, PHE’s consultant in communicable disease control said protection can “significantly reduce” the risk of STI transmission.

“Public Health England will continue to monitor, and act on, the spread of  antimicrobial resistance and potential gonorrhea treatment failures,” Lee said. –NY Daily News

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