Only One Antibiotic Remains to Treat Gonorrhea
June 11, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Officials at the World Health Organization (WHO) are reporting that only one antibiotic prescription medication is left that can treat gonorrhea.
“Gonorrhea is becoming a major public health challenge, due to the high incidence of infections accompanied by dwindling treatment options,” said Dr. Manjula Lusti-Narasimhan, of the WHO Department of Reproductive Health and Research.
Several countries, including France, Sweden, Norway, Australia, and the United Kingdom are reporting instances of cases of the last treatment option against gonorrhea — namely cephalosporin antibiotics.
“We are very concerned about recent reports of treatment failure from the last effective treatment option — the class of cephalosporin antibiotics — as there are no new therapeutic drugs in development,” Lusti-Narasimhan said. “If gonococcal infections become untreatable, the health implications are significant.”
Gonorrhea is a common STI (sexually transmitted infection). It’s estimated that 106 million people become infected with this disease annually, and it makes up about 25 percent of the four biggest sexually-transmitted curable diseases. It’s caused by a bacteria called Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and can spread via the sexual organs, anus, or mouth. By law, health care providers in the U.S. are required to notify their state’s health board about anyone diagnosed with gonorrhea.
“Without adequate surveillance we won’t know the extent of resistance to gonorrhea and without research into new anti-microbial agents, there could soon be no effective treatment for patients,” said Lusti-Narasimhan.
The WHO is not only calling for more research into alternative treatments for gonococcal infections, but also increased vigilance on using antibiotics correctly.
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