Action on ‘untreatable’ gonorrhoea
Health experts in England and Wales are on high alert for “untreatable” gonorrhoea that, in some countries, has developed resistance to antibiotics.
Although most UK cases are readily treatable, infection rates are rising.
And the Health Protection Agency (HPA) is launching an action plan to lessen transmission and monitor for and rapidly detect drug resistance.
Gonorrhoea is the second one most typical bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI) in England.
In 2011, newly diagnosed cases jumped 25% to almost 21,000.
At a similar time, the danger of gonorrhoea developing resistance to the antibiotics doctors normally prescribe – ceftriaxone and azithromycin – fell slightly for the primary time in five years.
However, cases of treatment failure have now been reported globally and, without a new drugs within the pipeline, England’s chief medical officer has advised the govt. to feature the specter of the infection’s resistance to front-line antibiotics to the civil emergencies risk register.
Dame Sally Davies said: “We’ve seen a worrying rise in cases of drug-resistant gonorrhoea during the last decade.
“Antimicrobial resistance to common drugs will increasingly threaten our ability to tackle infections, and the Health Protection Agency’s work is important to addressing this threat.”
Dr Gwenda Hughes, head of STI surveillance on the HPA, said: “We’re seriously concerned with continuing high levels of gonorrhoea transmission and repeat infection, suggesting we have to do more to minimize unsafe sexual behaviour.”
She said a concern was to encourage safer sexual behaviour and condom use, particularly among high-risk groups together with men who’ve sex with men, who account for greater than a 3rd of recent gonorrhoea cases.
The first case of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhoea was present in Japan in 2011. Sweden has also encountered a case.