Associated Press (06.06.12)
Gonorrhea is becoming increasingly resistant to the antibiotics used to treat it, the World Health Organization is warning ahead of the release of a global action plan to combat the STD.
“This organism has basically been developing resistance against every medication we’ve thrown at it,” including the cephalosporin class currently considered the last line of treatment, said Dr. Manjula Lusti-Narasimhan, a scientist in WHO’s STD department. “It’s not a European problem or an African problem, it’s really a worldwide problem.”
Overuse or incorrect use of antibiotics and gonorrhea’s ability to mutate quickly in response to treatment are believed to be the main reasons the bacteria is quickly becoming a super bug, according to scientists. Resistance to cephalosporins was first reported in Japan, but has since been detected in Britain, Australia, France, Sweden, and Norway - all countries with well-developed health systems. This indicates it is likely that drug-resistant gonorrhea strains are circulating undetected elsewhere.
WHO’s plan calls for governments and physicians to increase surveillance of resistant gonorrhea and become less complacent about the STD, and it encourages researchers to move quickly to find a new cure.
Gonorrhea is the second-most common STD after chlamydia. WHO estimates that of the 498 million new cases of curable STDs worldwide each year, gonorrhea accounts for 106 million. Gonorrhea increases the likelihood of contracting other infections, including HIV.