Rising Untreatable "Super bug" Gonorrhoea Spreading Globally
Gonorrhoea known commonly as “the clap” or “the drip” is the second most common bacteria sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the UK after Chlamydia, with almost 35,000 cases reported in England in 2014, And about 78 million people catch gonorrhoea every year. Anyone who is sexually active is at risk and any kind of sex, including anal and oral sex, can pass it along.
It was once easily treated with a quick dose of antibiotics but, like all bacterial infections, strains have evolved that can evade the mechanisms used by antibiotics “Gonorrhoea is a very smart bud” said Teodora Wi, a human reproduction specialist at the Geneva-based UN health agency. “Every time you introduce a new type of antibiotic to treat it, this bug develops resistance to it.”
But the new antibiotic resistant strain developed through a mistreatment of gonorrhoea bacteria left in the throat after oral sex. Gonorrhoea in the throat often looks like strep throat, so doctors prescribe standard antibiotics, which then mix with the bacteria creating antibiotic-resistant gonorrhoea. Both of the current antibiotics used to treat gonorrhoea- Ceftriaxone and Azithromycin are becoming increasingly ineffective against the new strain.
“To date, three extensively drug resistant gonococcal strains with high-level resistance to ceftriaxone (super-bugs) have also been reported- in France, Japan and Spain” Wi and colleagues wrote in their report.
U.S. authorities have had some success against gonorrhoea by using both Ceftriaxone and azithromycin- but it’s unclear how long such a regimen will deter the super gonorrhoea.The WHO reports urges countries to encourage the development of new drugs and a vaccine against gonorrhoea and urges better surveillance and treatment in the meantime.
Three new drugs are in the development pipeline, solithromycin, which has completed a phase III Trial, and two other drugs which have completed phase II trials, but it is unclear how long it will take these drugs to reach the pharmaceutical market and whether they will prove to be stronger than the super-bug
Before Then, health experts recommend safe sex with condoms, communication with partners, frequent testing, and old boring standby, abstinence.
According to the CDC, symptoms in men include:
- A burning sensation when urinating
- A white, Yellow or green discharge from the penis
- Painful or swollen testicles
Most women with gonorrhoea do not have any symptoms. But they can include:
- Painful or burning sensation when urinating
- Increased Vaginal discharge
- Vaginal bleeding between periods
“You can get gonorrhoea by having vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone who has gonorrhoea. A pregnant woman with gonorrhoea can give the infection to her baby during childbirth.” CDC cautions