Drug Resistant Gonorrhea Superbug Spreads from Japan

As if gonorrhea weren’t bad enough, there is now a strain of the sexually transmitted disease or STD, that cannot be killed off by any of the current crop of antibiotics. The new unstoppable STD strain is spreading around the World. The World Health Organisation (WHO) are saying that their worst fears are now realized as cases are being reported in Australia, France, Norway, Sweden and Britain. Many cases of the STD are resistant to cephalosporin antibiotics, previously the last resort for medication against gonorrhea.

The United Nations health agency put out a warning last Wednesday, that millions of sufferers could end up without any effective treatment options unless medics and clinics can diagnose and act earlier. The latest gonorrhea strain first appeared in Japan in 2008 and the fear at that time was that it easily mutate and be passed around the globe. It threatens to become a pandemic with over 105,000,000 cases coming to light every year. The WHO said at a Geneva briefing this week, “The organism is what we term a super bug – it has developed resistance to virtually every class of antibiotics that exists. If gonococcal infections become untreatable, the health implications are significant.”

Gonorrhea is an STD caused by bacteria which, if left to run its course without medication can cause lifelong health complications, such as pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirths, acute infections of the eyes in infants, and even infertility in both males and females. It is one of the most frequently recurring STDs in the world and is to be found even more commonly in south and southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa where antibiotics are harder to come by. In North America alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of diagnoses runs at about 700,000 each year.

The WHO is recommending and strongly advocating stringent regulation over the correct use of antibiotics and a lot more research into alternative medications for all the strains of gonococcal infections. For it is the unguarded over prescribing of antibiotics that drives the bacteria to mutate into the drug-resistant super bug. Bacteriologists are of the opinion that gonorrheae strains also maintain immunity to previous antibiotics long after their uses have been stopped.

[box type=”important”]Only developed countries are able to provide accurate data on the occurrence of STDs. It is feared that the cases we are seeing now are just the tip of a pandemic iceberg. There is an urgent need for more accurate and total recording of diagnoses and much research into new forms of antimicrobial agents.[/box]

The symptoms of the new strain of gonorrhea are much more difficult to detect, even for the sufferer. ‘Old’ gonorrhea of the urethra caused acute pain often described as like ‘passing razor blades. However, the new strain is nowhere near as painful and only detectable by the discharge simultaneous with urination. This increases the chances of the infection going undiscovered and untreated. STDs can be prevented by only having protected sex and including sexual partners in any diagnosis and early treatment.

Claire Al-Aufi

Claire Al-Aufi is a contributing author for Hive Health Media who provides updates on health and fitness news.

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