Oral sex, decreased condom use blamed for untreatable ‘super gonorrhoea’: WHO
By Melania Simeon
WINDHOEK – The World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued a warning about a new strain of gonorrhoea called ‘super gonorrhoea’ that is infecting people all over the world.
The UN health agency last week noted that data from 77 countries show that antibiotic resistance is making gonorrhoea – a common sexually-transmitted infection – much harder, and sometimes impossible, to treat.
Oral sex and a decline in condom use are reportedly behind the spread which is currently untreatable.
According to WHO medical experts, this mutant strain “super gonorrhoea” left in the throat after oral sex is often mistaken for strep throat and the bacteria causing it is strong enough to reject the ceftriaxone and azithromycin antibiotics used to treat gonorrhoea.
“The bacteria that cause gonorrhoea are particularly smart. Every time we use a new class of antibiotics to treat the infection, the bacteria evolve to resist them,” said Dr Teodora Wi, a human reproduction specialist at WHO.
WHO reports widespread resistance to older and cheaper antibiotics. The agency said some countries – particularly high-income ones, where surveillance is best – rub
are finding cases of the infection that are untreatable by all known antibiotics.
Meanwhile, Dr Wi told The Southern Times that no cases of super gonorrhoea has been reported in Namibia or other countries in the region thus far, but cautioned people to be attentive and careful about the sexually transmitted disease.
“So far we didn’t receive any reports of the untreatable disease in Namibia or Southern Africa, but it is important to continue to monitor the trends of gonorrhoea antimicrobial resistance to specific antibiotic for gonorrhoea,” he said.
It is reported that every year, an estimated 78 million are infected with gonorrhoea which can infect the genitals, rectum, and throat.
Complications of gonorrhoea disproportionally affect women, including pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy and infertility, as well as an increased risk of HIV.
Three new drugs are in the development pipeline, solithromycin, which has completed a phase III trial, and two other drugs which have completed phase II trials, but it is unclear how long it will take these drugs to reach the pharmaceutical market and whether they will prove to be stronger than the super bacteria.
Before then, health experts recommend safe sex with condoms, communication with partners, frequent testing, and the old boring standby, abstinence.