Researchers warn that the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea is winning the battle against medicine’s arsenal of antibiotic treatments.
Researchers in both US and UK recently expressed concern about the increasing number of cases of gonorrhea found in each country that are resistant to certain drugs used to treat it, noting its “catastrophic” implications for the future of controlling the disease.
In 2009, nearly a quarter of strains of gonorrhea tested in the US were resistant to drugs commonly used to treat the disease, including penicillin, tetracycline, fluoroquinolones, or a combination of these, stated health and science news website MyHealthNewsDaily on April 19. Early data from 2010 provides even scarier news: gonorrhea is showing resistance to the only drugs physicians have left to treat it, a class of antibiotics called cephalosporins.
The US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who issued the 2009 data last month, notes that if left untreated, gonorrhea could spread to the blood or joints, and could even be life-threatening. People with gonorrhea typically show no symptoms, although it can lead to complications, such as infertility and in women, chronic pelvic pain, and in men, a painful testicular condition known as epididymitis.
International experts, such as the CDC and the World Health Organization, are working on strategies to prevent the emergence of antibiotic resistance, and strongly advocate practicing safe sex and getting screened for sexually transmitted diseases, including gonorrhea, if you are sexually active.