By Sola Ogundipe
Gonorrhea one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in the world is becoming untreatable as cases of “super-gonorrhea” have been reported throughout the world.
According to the World Health Organisation, a lot has been heard about ‘super gonorrhea this year.
“Basically, when we say ‘super gonorrhea’ we mean ‘gonorrhea superbug,’” stateds Dr. Teodora Wi, WHO medical officer.
“These are extensively drug-resistant gonorrhea with high-level resistance to the current recommended treatment for gonorrhea (ceftriaxone and azithromycin) including resistance to penicillin, sulphonamides, tetracycline, fluoroquinolones, macrolides.”
Wi adds that the “superbug” has been reported in several countries around the world.
He attributes the increased resiliency of gonorrhea to the overuse of antibiotics, inappropriate selection of antibiotics, using less than optimal qualities of antibiotics, unrestricted access to antimicrobials, genetic mutations within the Neisseria gonorrhea organism, and extragenital infections.
Gonorrhea can affect anyone and is contracted through unprotected sexual contact with a person who has the infection. It can also be spread from mother to baby during delivery.
“This bacterial infection is on the rise and is becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics. Of more concern, in recent years there have been two cases of drug-resistant gonorrhea in Canada related to travel to Southeast Asia.”
Wi said the development of new antibiotics is being outpaced by the development of resistance in gonorrhea. However, on a more positive note, Wi concludes that health organizations are collaborating to develop new treatments for the infection.
“Gonococcal antimicrobial resistance will only be effectively mitigated when additionally the global gonorrhea burden is reduced. This is why sex education is so important..
“Apart from prevention through safer sexual behavior, the development of a vaccine to prevent transmission is vital and an effective gonococcal vaccine is likely the only sustainable solution for effective control of gonorrhea.”