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article imageGonorrhoea set to become 'untreatable'

By Tim Sandle     Dec 28, 2015 in Health
Leeds - Gonorrhoea could become the first bacterial disease to shift from "once treatable" to "untreatable," in the U.K., the nation's most senior medical officer has warned. This follows a highly resistant strain being detected in the northeast of England.
Back in September 2015, Digital Journal reported on a form of multi-drug-resistant gonorrhea (a sexual health bacterial disease), spreading in the north of England, with a focal point centered in the city of Leeds. As a follow-up on this story, Dame Sally Davies, England's chief medical officer, has warned that only a combination of two antibiotics together (azithromycin and ceftriaxone) has any chance of clearing the infection.
Gonorrhea describes an infection caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. N. gonorrhoeae is transmitted person-to-person during sexual relations. The bacterium does not survive for long periods outside of the human body, and its primary means of continuance is through unprotected sex.
The disease has been associated with humans for thousands of years. Symptoms include pain when passing urine, through the excretion of a thick green or yellow discharge. If left untreated, the disease can lead to joint pain and, in the most serious cases, affect heart valves.
It is the issue of treatment that has become less easy. The strain prevalent in the northeast of England is proving to be resistant to a wide range of antimicrobials, including those proven to be effective in the past. The highly drug-resistant strain of gonorrhoea was first detected in March 2015. Since then case numbers have grown.
The concern of Dame Sally Davies is that if the two-drug regimen is not practiced effectively (termed "suboptimal treatment"), then the surviving bacteria could well acquire resistance to all potential antimicrobials: "Gonorrhoea is at risk of becoming an untreatable disease due to the continuing emergence of antimicrobial resistance, " she told BBC Health.
In related news, annual figures relating to sexually transmitted infections in the U.K. are showing a marked rise, especially in those aged under 25. Experts see this societal trend as volatile due to many younger people ignoring advice on safe sex practices.
More about Gonorrhoea, antibiotic resistant, Health, Sexual health, Infection
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