STD that could be ‘untreatable’
THE UK’S chief medical officer has warned that one of the world’s oldest sexually transmittable diseases could eventually become untreatable.
Dame Sally Davies said that Gonorrhoea could become untreatable, and has written to GPs and pharmacies to ensure they are prescribing the correct drugs for it, the BBC reports.
Her concerns about the disease comes after cases of “super-Gonorrhoea” emerged in Leeds earlier this year.
“Gonorrhoea is at risk of becoming an untreatable disease due to the continuing emergence of antimicrobial resistance,” Dame Davies wrote.
“It is therefore extremely important that suboptimal treatment does not occur.”
Some patients are also not getting the right antibiotics needed to clear the infection.
A study by Public Health England this year revealed doctors were still prescribing the antibiotic ciprofloxacin for the disease even though it has not been recommended since 2005.
“We know that Gonorrhoea 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 also found 16 cases of the super strain that is resistant to the antibiotic known as azithromycin, which is one of the few antibiotics known to treat the disease.
While ceftriaxone and azithromycin are meant to be used in combination with each other, every case is circumstantial.
Using one of the two drugs can make it easier for bacterium to become resistant.
Dr Andrew Lee, from Public Health England, said investigations are ongoing into a number of cases of antimicrobial resistant Gonorrhoea, the BBC reports.
“Public Health England will continue to monitor, and act on, the spread of antimicrobial resistance and potential Gonorrhoea treatment failures, to make sure they are identified and managed promptly,” he said.
The Better Health Victoria website states that some strains of Gonorrhoea are now resistant to penicillin and some other antibiotics.
“Tell your doctor if you have been travelling overseas because many of the new resistant strains have originated from outside Australia,” it also states.
Gonorrhoea is caused by bacteria known as Neisseria gonorrhoeae and affects the genital area, but the throat or anus may also be involved.
It affects both men and women and is easily transmitted during intercourse, and can also be transmitted during anal or oral sex.
If left untreated, it can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, which can cause infertility for women.
Gonorrhoea may also emerge without symptoms, especially in women.
The best protection against Gonorrhoea is condoms and dams.