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Gonorrhea is now resistant to the antibiotic drug

Date:2011-11-19 click:

 Doctors in the United Kingdom have warned that gonorrhea is now resistant to the antibiotic drug used in its treatment, Cefixime. Coming on the heels of this announcement is the discovery of a new strain of gonorrhoea, discovered by Japanese scientists called H041.

 
This finding was presented on Monday, October 9, at a conference in Quebec City, Canada; three days after the CDC had announced that strains in the United States have shown signs of drug resistance, based on analyses of bacteria samples taken from 2000 to 2010.
 
The bacterium that causes the disease, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, is highly adaptable. In the 1950s, gonorrhoea became resistant to penicillin, after which, doctors turned to antibiotics. Gonorrhoea is now resistant to tetracycline, erythromycin, ciprofloxacin; and most recently cephalosporin (of which cefixime is one). In recent times, the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) called cephalosporin the "last line of defence for treating gonorrhoea."
 
The UK's Health Protection Agency has advised the use of two more powerful antibiotics - in oral and injection forms - to enhance the treatment of the sexually transmitted disease. The HPA also advises that doctors begin administration of the new drugs to prevent the disease from reaching an incurable stage.
 
HPA gonorrhoea expert, Prof Cathy Ison, explained the recent development: "Our lab tests have shown a dramatic reduction in the sensitivity of the drug we were using as the main treatment for gonorrhoea."
 
Prof. Ison added that this resistance poses the "very real threat of untreatable gonorrhoea in the future ... as history tells us that resistance to this therapy will develop too. In the absence of any new alternative treatments for when this happens, we will face a situation where gonorrhoea cannot be cured."
 
Dr. Magnus Unemo, based at the Swedish Reference Laboratory for Pathogenic Neisseria, agrees with Prof. Ison. In a statement concerning Ho41, he called the development an "alarming and a predictable discovery." Unemo worked with Japanese colleagues to characterize the new H041 multidrug-resistant gonorrhoea strain.
 
Gonorrhoea is an extremely common sexually transmitted disease; and can be transmitted from mother to baby during delivery. Symptoms often do not manifest and if left untreated, can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, which can lead to chronic pelvic pain, infertility or ectopic pregnancy.

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