|Basic InformationMore InformationLatest News|HIV No Barrier to Getting Liver Transplant, Study FindsImmune Cell Discovery May One Day Lead to Herpes Vaccine: StudyHalf of People With Hepatitis C Don't Complete Needed Tests: CDCNew Guidelines Suggest HIV Screening for All AdultsHIV 'Cure' Looks 'Promising,' Danish Scientists ContendSofosbuvir Shows Promise for Chronic Hepatitis C InfectionStudy Hints of Links Between HPV and Lung CancerCould Self-Testing Help Overcome HIV/AIDS Epidemic?Experimental Drug May Work Against Hepatitis CHIV Prevalence Is High Among High-Risk HeterosexualsCDC: 1 in 50 Poor, Straight Urban Americans Infected With HIVHIV Infection Linked to Risk of Acute Myocardial InfarctionHIV May Raise Risk of Heart AttackResearchers Describe 1st 'Functional Cure' of HIV in BabyU.S. AIDS-Relief Plan a Success, Report FindsMillions of Americans Have an STD: ReportCertain Skin Cancers More Common in HIV-Positive PeopleDrug Users Are 'Super-Spreaders' of Hepatitis C, Study FindsStudy Pinpoints Optimal Treatment Window for HIVGeneric Three-Pill HIV Regimen Could Result in Big SavingsSome HPV-Linked Cancers Rising in U.S.: ReportNew Pills Show Promise for Hepatitis CFulyzaq Approved for Diarrhea in People With HIV/AIDSHepatitis: The Hidden HazardSmoking Deadlier For HIV Patients Than Virus Itself: StudyKids With HIV at Risk of Heart Disease, Study SaysUse of Clinical Decision-Support System Can Improve HIV CareAmong Black Americans, HIV Takes a Greater TollNew HIV Infections Highest Among Urban Gay, Bisexual Men: CDCHIV Infections Continue to Hit Young Americans HardAIDS Deaths, New HIV Infections Continue to Drop WorldwideU.S. Task Force Backs HIV Screening for All 15 to 65Antiviral Therapy for Hepatitis C May Thwart Liver CancerHigh-Dose Vitamins Don't Halt HIV Progression, DeathExperimental Vaccine Might Help Women Already Infected With HPVMore Stomach, Esophageal Cancers Seen in AIDS Patients Than OthersScientists Probe How Some HIV Patients Resist AIDSImproved HIV Care Boosts Life Expectancy at Clinic, Study FoundAntiretrovirals Increasingly Used for HIV in the U.S.More Americans Get Effective HIV Treatment, Study SaysOnce-Daily Pill Approved to Treat HIVHepatitis C Treatment May Hamper Kids' GrowthGonorrhea Resistant to All But One Antibiotic: CDCNew Clues to How HIV Infects Body's CellsOnly 1 in 4 Americans With HIV Has Virus Under Control: CDCHIV Drug-Resistance Up in Resource-Limited SettingsAll HIV Patients Should Take Meds Early On, Experts Now SayMom's HIV Drugs May Pass to Baby in Womb, Breast-FeedingNot All HIV Patients in U.S. Show Same Characteristics: StudyHIV Racial Disparities Noted for Men Who Have Sex With MenQuestions and AnswersLinksBook Reviews
Antibiotic-Resistant Gonorrhea Spreading: WHO
by By Steven Reinberg
Updated: Jun 6th 2012
WEDNESDAY, June 6 (HealthDay News) -- Gonorrhea, the second most common sexually transmitted disease, is rapidly growing resistant to the last class of antibiotics that can effectively treat the infection, the World Health Organization warned Wednesday.
A number of countries, including Australia, France, Japan, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom, are reporting cases of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea. The infection can lead to a series of serious health problems for both men and women, including infertility, increased risk of HIV infection, and potentially blinding eye infections in newborns, the WHO said.
Every year some 106 million people around the world are infected with gonorrhea, the U.N. health agency said.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 700,000 people in the United States get new gonorrhea infections each year and less than half of these infections are reported to the CDC.
In recommendations released Wednesday, the WHO called for greater oversight on the correct use of antibiotics and more research into alternative treatments for infections. The agency's Global Action Plan also urges increased monitoring and reporting of resistant strains of the disease, as well as better prevention, diagnosis and control of infections.
"Gonorrhea is becoming a major public health challenge, due to the high incidence of infections accompanied by dwindling treatment options," Dr. Manjula Lusti-Narasimhan, of WHO's Department of Reproductive Health and Research, said in a news release.
"The available data only shows the tip of the iceberg. Without adequate surveillance we won't know the extent of resistance to gonorrhea and without research into new antimicrobial agents, there could soon be no effective treatment for patients," she added.
Gonorrhea accounts for one quarter of the four major, curable sexually transmitted diseases, WHO noted, and it's the second most common sexually transmitted infection after chlamydia.
Since the development of antibiotics, gonorrhea has developed resistance to a variety of antibiotics, including penicillin and tetracyclines, and appears to be developing resistance to cephalosporins, the last line of drug defense, the agency said.
"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."
Untreated gonorrhea can lead to health problems for men, women and newborns, the WHO said, including: infection of the urethra, cervix and rectum; infertility in both men and women; increased risk of HIV infection and transmission; ectopic pregnancies; miscarriage, stillbirths and premature deliveries; and severe eye infections in up to 50 percent of babies born to women with untreated gonorrhea that can lead to blindness.
Gonorrhea can be prevented through safe sex practices. Early detection and treatment, including of sex partners, is essential to control sexually transmitted diseases, WHO said.
Dr. Marc Siegel, an associate professor of medicine at the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, said, "WHO is right, gonorrhea is a rampant worldwide problem."
"It's also true that there are more resistant strains coming out," he said. But, in underdeveloped areas these strains are mostly sensitive to antibiotics, because in these areas there isn't a lot of antibiotic use, he added.
"We do need more public health measures, we need more education, and we need a heck of a lot more condom use," Siegel said.
Another leading U.S. infectious disease expert said the situation may not be as dire in America.
"The number of cases of gonorrhea in the U.S. has been significantly falling for a number of years. In 2009 there were 301,000 cases, representing a 10 percent decline from 2008. That trend has continued," said Dr. Pascal James Imperato, dean of the School of Public Health at State University of New York Downstate Medical Center. "I present this by way of background since gonorrhea, as a sexually transmitted disease, has been and continues to be on a downward decline in the U.S.
"Here in the U.S., a double antibiotic regimen has been in place over the past few years consisting of a cephalosporin and azithromycin or azithromycin and doxycycline," he explained.
"Thus far, organisms in the U.S. are still susceptible to some of the cephalosporins and remain susceptible to other antibiotics as well," Imperato said.
For more on gonorrhea, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This article: Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.