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article imageAntibiotic-resistant gonorrhea high in U.K.

By Tim Sandle     Sep 18, 2015 in Health
Leeds - Multi-drug-resistant gonorrhea, a sexual health disease, is spreading in the north of England, with a focal point centered in the city of Leeds.
To date 12 cases of the bacterium have been identified in Leeds and a further four have been reported in Macclesfield, Oldham and Scunthorpe. However, health experts fear this is a significant underestimation as many cases are likely not to have been reported and many people carry the bacterium without displaying outward symptoms.
Gonorrhea is an infection caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae.N. gonorrhoeae is transmitted from person to person during sexual relations. The bacterium does not survive for long periods outside of the human body.
Symptoms in men are more common than in women. Most infected men experience a burning sensation when passing urine; when women experience symptoms, this is as a vaginal discharge and pelvic pain. If left untreated, the disease can lead to severe joint pain and, most seriously, it can affect the heart valves.
Treatment is through antibiotics and the disease can be prevented by using condoms. As with many other pathogenic bacterial diseases, many strains of bacteria are becoming resistant to one or more antibiotics (part of the looming antibiotic resistance crisis.) Troubleshooting, this includes the causative organism in the north of England. The organism appears resistant to more than one antimicrobial, including one of the primary drugs administered to treat the disease, the antibiotic azithromycin.
Azithromycin has relatively broad antibacterial activity; however, this has not prevented one particular strain of N. gonorrhoeae, which is normally susceptible, from becoming resistant. Such is the extent of the concern that all U.K. sexual health centers are on high alert. This is so that an alternative antibiotic can be given to those who are diagnosed as having the disease.
Speaking with the BBC, Peter Greenhouse, a consultant in sexual health, stated: "If this becomes the predominant strain in the UK we're in big trouble, so we have to be really meticulous in making sure each of these individuals has all their contacts traced and treated."
More about Gonorrhoea, Sexual health, Disease, Bacteria
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