PROTECT YOURSELF. UNTREATABLE GONORRHOEA SPREADING AROUND THE WORLD – WHO
Scientists reported last year finding a “superbug” strain of gonorrhoea in Japan in 2008 that was resistant to all recommended antibiotics and warned then that it could transform a once easily treatable infections into a global health threat.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed the fears over last year’s reported findings by scientists of a “superbug” strain of gonorrhoea in Japan in 2008 that was resistant to all recommended antibiotics as true and warned that it could transform once easily treatable infections into a global health threat.
The United Nations health agency said today on Wednesday that the drug resistant strains of gonorrhoea have spread to countries across the world and millions of patients may run out of treatment options unless doctors catch and treat cases earlier, Reuters said.
Countries including Australia, France, Norway, Sweden and Britain already have reported cases of the sexually transmitted disease resistant to cephalosporin antibiotics – normally the last option for drugs against gonorrhoea.
Reuters report quoted Manjula Lusti-Narasimhan, from the WHO’s department of reproductive health and research to have said that “Gonorrhoea is becoming a major public health challenge,” with more than 106 million newly infected people every year.
“The organism is what we term a superbug – it has developed resistance to virtually every class of antibiotics that exists,” she told a briefing in Geneva. “If gonococcal infections become untreatable, the health implications are significant.” She said.
Francis Ndowa, formerly the WHO’s lead specialist for sexually transmitted infections, said gonorrhoea has not only adapted to elude antibiotics but developed less painful symptoms, increasing its survival chances.
“They used to say that if you have urethral gonorrhoea you go to the toilet to pass urine, it would be like passing razor blades. It was that painful,” he explained. “Now people with gonorrhoea sometimes…only notice the discharge if they look when they pass urine, it’s not that painful anymore.
“So the organism has readjusted itself to provide fewer symptoms so that it can survive longer. It’s an amazing interaction between man and pathogen.”
Reuters described “gonorrhoea is a bacterial sexually transmitted infection which, if left untreated, can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirths, severe eye infections in babies, and infertility in both men and women.”
“It is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the world and is most prevalent in south and southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. In the United States alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of cases is estimated at around 700,000 a year.”
Experts say the best way to reduce the risk of even greater resistance developing – beyond the urgent need to develop effective new drugs – is to treat gonorrhoea with combinations of two or more types of antibiotic at the same time.
This technique is used in the treatment of some other infections like tuberculosis in an attempt to make it more difficult for the bacteria to learn how to conquer the drugs.
Gonorrhoea can be prevented through safer sexual intercourse. The WHO said early detection and prompt treatment, including of sexual partners, is essential to control sexually transmitted infections.
The WHO called for greater vigilance on the correct use of antibiotics and more research into alternative treatments for so-called gonococcal infections.