Before the end of last year, a report from Guardian and several other sites from United Kingdom showed that gonorrhea may soon become untreatable, as warned by the nation’s chief medical officer.
“Gonorrhea is at risk of becoming an untreatable disease,” said Dame Sally Davies. She explained that it was due to the continuing emergence of antimicrobial resistance. Davies also has written to all doctors and pharmacies in the nation at the time to ensure that they are prescribing the correct drugs after the confirmed rise of a highly drug-resistant strain of the bacteria.
And just six months after the national public health alert for gonorrhea in the U.K., America’s CDC–or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention–issued a statement somewhat corroborating Davies’s warning about the drug-resisting development of the bacteria. The public health institute said that in 2014, the nationwide surveillance program showed rises in the percentage of gonorrhea samples resistant to the drugs currently in use, the azithromycin and ceftriaxone.
As explained in the website Scientific American, the drugs azithromycin and ceftriaxone are used in combination to treat the disease. But in the samples with azithromycin, they have found antibiotic resistant rose from zero point six percent to two point five percent, a fourfold rise. Meanwhile, in the samples with ceftriaxone, resistance doubled, from zero point four percent to zero point eight percent.
In an interview with the website, the study’s first author–Dr. Robert Kirkcaldy–revealed that it is still low. However, they have seen the bacteria demonstrating the ability repeatedly to develop resistance to the drugs in use, and the potential for it to become untreatable is “a very real possibility in the future.”
Gonorrhea in America
Gonorrhea, a sexually transmitted disease, is already considered common in the United States.
As reported in the CDC website, in 2014, about three hundred thousand individuals in the country–or about one hundred and thirty-one point four per one hundred thousand of the population–were diagnosed with it. The reported case among women decreased during the years 2011 to 2014, says the CDC, from one hundred and eight per one hundred thousand to one hundred and one point three per one hundred thousand.
Meanwhile, cases among men increased during the same period, from ninety-one per one hundred thousand, to one hundred and twenty point one per one hundred thousand.
Infected people don’t notice any symptoms. If there’s pain, it’s in the infected area, usually in the uterus, anus, penis, or mouth.
If the gonorrhea is in the uterus, the institute said the person will see bleeding between periods, pain or burning when passing urine, or increased vaginal discharge.
Prevention of gonorrhea and other STD relies largely on the early detection of the infection. But as already mentioned, the treatment has been compromised by the evolution of the bacteria’s antimicrobial resistance.