Tag Archives: Neisseria gonorrhoeae

Gonorrhea Is Now One Antibiotic Away from Being Untreatable

A close-up illustration of the Gonorrhea bacteria on a petri dish

Back in October, we told you that Gonorrhea could possibly become untreatable, well, unfortunately, the disease is closer to untreatable than it has been since doctors devised a way to treat it in the first place.

We’re down to just one antibiotic that can effectively fight the disease!

The cause for alarm comes from the CDC’s cheerily named “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report,” which has reported this month:

Gonorrhea is a major cause of serious reproductive complications in women and can facilitate human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission. Effective treatment is a cornerstone of U.S. gonorrhea control efforts, but treatment of gonorrhea has been complicated by the ability of Neisseria gonorrhoeae to develop antimicrobial resistance.

In everyday terms, gonorrhea has gradually grown resistant to nearly every antibiotic we’ve created over the past several decades to destroy it. Nowadays, our last stand against the disease is injections of the antibiotic ceftriaxone, which then need to be be followed up with oral doses of either zithromycin or doxycycline.  According to a statement from the CDC’s Director of STD Prevention, Dr. Gail Bolan, it is now “only a matter of time” until gonorrhea is resistant to our final, antibiotic regimen. After that, we’ll have nothing to stop it, which is not good news considering that gonorrhoea is a common STI in the UK.

It was diagnosed in over 16,500 people in 2010 and there are likely to be many more people who remain undiagnosed, because up to half of women and one in 10 men have no symptoms of gonorrhoea so don’t seek advice from a doctor.

So, in line with our advice in protecting yourself from contracting HIV, if you’re not using condoms already—(and, really, you should be using condoms if you’re having sex with people) maybe you should start now, there are other dangers out there besides HIV.

More information about gonorrhoea is available from the NHS and Bupa from the following links:

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Gonorrhea Possibly Becoming ‘Untreatable’

The leading gonorrhea antibiotic cefixime has become less effective over the past few years, a new study has shown.

The HPA’s annual Gonococcal Resistance to Antimicrobials Surveillance Programme report revealed a decline in susceptibility to the drug, in some cases leading to treatment failure.

Lab tests on gonorrhoea bacteria samples taken in 2010 showed that 17.4% had a reduced susceptibility to cefixime, up from 10.6% the year before.

The first cases of bacteria with reduced susceptibility to the antibiotic were noted in 2006.  Doctors treating gonorrhoea patients are now advised to no longer use cefixime as their first choice.

Rather, they are recommended to use a mix of two drugs: ceftriaxone, an antibiotic which is injected, and azithromycin, which can be taken orally.

Prof Cathy Ison

Professor Cathy Ison, a gonorrhoea expert at the HPA, said: “Our lab tests have shown a dramatic reduction in the sensitivity of the drug we were using as the main treatment for gonorrhoea. This presents the very real threat of untreatable gonorrhoea in the future.

“We were so worried by the results we were seeing that we recommended that guidelines on the treatment of gonorrhoea were revised in May this year, to recommend a more effective drug.

“But this won’t solve the problem, as history tells us that resistance to this therapy will develop too. In the absence of any new alternative treatments for when this happens, we will face a situation where gonorrhoea cannot be cured.”

“Many patients may feel anxious about having an injection, but this is now the best way of avoiding treatment failure. Patients who refuse the jab will be offered oral antibiotics instead”.

“This highlights the importance of practising safe sex, as, if new antibiotic treatments can’t be found, this will be only way of controlling this infection in the future.”

After genital chlamydia, gonorrhoea is the second most common bacterial sexually transmitted infection in the UK.  (The first being Chlamydia)

According to HPA figures, there were 16,145 new diagnoses of gonorrhoea in 2010, a 3% increase on 2009 when there were 15,606.

Original Articles via BBC News and Nursing Times

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