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Gonorrhea Getting Smarter: Bacteria Is Evolving to Become ‘Impossible to Treat,’ WHO Warns

Hannah Osborne - Newsweek
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July 19, 2017
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Alarm sounded over untreatable strains of gonorrhea (Euronews)

Update: Mexico Reports 162 Percent Increase in Gonorrhea (Outbreak News Today)

Newly evolved strains of drug-resistant gonorrhea are making the sexually transmitted infection impossible to treat, the World Health Organization has warned.

become impossible to treat, with the bacteria becoming resistant to all the drugs used to combat the sexually transmitted infection, the World Health Organization has warned.

An estimated 78 million people are infected with gonorrhea every year, which can be transmitted via oral, anal and vaginal sex and can infect the genitals, rectum and throat, meaning it In new analysis of data from 77 countries, researchers have discovered antibiotic resistance is making gonorrhea far more difficult, and in some cases impossible to treat.

Resistance to drugs traditionally used to treat gonorrhea was found to be widespread. Untreatable infections were found to be more prevalent in high income countries, where surveillance is higher.

“These cases may just be the tip of the iceberg, since systems to diagnose and report untreatable infections are lacking in lower-income countries where gonorrhea is actually more common,” said Teodora Wi, Medical, from the WHO.

“The bacteria that cause gonorrhea are particularly smart. Every time we use a new class of antibiotics to treat the infection, the bacteria evolve to resist them.”

A drop in condom use, increased travel and urbanization and low infection detection rates, combined with inadequate and failed treatment appear to be behind the rise in drug resistant gonorrhea, the WHO said.

... The WHO says prevention is a key course of action. This includes using condoms, improved awareness of the symptoms of gonorrhea and campaigns to reduce stigma around STIs.

Read the rest at Newsweek

Related: Drug-Resistant Gonorrhea: AHF Urges CDC to Revamp Failing Public Health Prevention Efforts (Business Wire)

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