Gonorrhoea Threatens to Become Drug-Resistant
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31 March 2010
The sexually transmitted disease gonorrhoea risks becoming a drug–resistant “superbug” if doctors do not devise new ways of treating it, a leading sexual health expert said.
Catherine Ison, a specialist on gonorrhoea from Britain’s Health Protection Agency said a World Health Organization meeting in Manila next week would be vital to efforts to try to stop the bug repeatedly adapting to and overcoming drugs. “This is a very clever bacteria. If this problem isn’t addressed, there is a real possibility that gonorrhoea will become a very difficult infection to treat,” she said.
Gonorrhoea is a common bacterial sexually–transmitted infection and if left untreated can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy and infertility in women.
Globally, the WHO estimates there are at least 340 million new cases of curable sexually transmitted infections – including syphilis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia and trichomoniasis – every year among people aged 15 to 49.
Ison said the highest incidences of gonorrhoea were in south and southeast Asia and sub–Saharan Africa, but as yet the WHO has no breakdown by individual infection type. Instances of gonorrhoea being resistant to multiple drugs – the definition of a “superbug” – have started to appear in Japan. Other reports of gonorrhoea drug resistance had also come from Hong Kong, China and Australia.