Super gonorrhoea is UKs next major public health concern after Covid

Super gonorrhea spreads throughout the UK

As the world continues to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, there is another disease running rife through the UK.

In 2020 alone, during the height of Covid, there were 82 million new cases of gonorrhoea worldwide.

A super strength strain of the sexually transmitted infection (STI) remains a “major public health concern”, the WHO says.

Super gonorrhoea has survived against emerging medicines, such as tetracyclines, macrolides, sulphonamides and, more recently, quinolones.

The extensively drug-resistant gonorrhoea has “high-level resistance” against current treatments for gonorrhoea, including ceftriaxone and azithromycin).

The gonorrhoea superbug is leading to a number of cases that have resisted treatment in the UK.

READ MORE… ‘I’m a pharmacist – watch out for these signs of an STI seen in the eyes’

How has the superbug been created?

Genetic mutations, alongside the overuse of antibiotics, are two factors that have contributed to the development of super gonorrhoea.

Additional factors include:

  • Unrestricted access to antimicrobials
  • Poor quality antibiotics.

How dangerous is super gonorrhoea?

An infection with super gonorrhoea can impact reproductive, maternal and newborn health.

Examples include infertility, inflammation that leads to chronic lower abdominal pain in women, and ectopic pregnancies.

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Dr Frank DiVincenzo verified that super gonorrhoea “is a serious threat to public health”.

Dr DiVincenzo confirmed rates of gonorrhoea have skyrocketed 92 percent in the past decade.

In many cases, there are no symptoms of infection, but the STI might lead to:

  • Pain during urination
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Rectal itching, bleeding, or discharge
  • Pain during bowel movements
  • Eye pain and discharge
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen glands in the neck
  • Stiff and painful joints
  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Skin sores
  • Bleeding between menstrual periods
  • Vaginal discharge.

Anybody who identifies with any of the symptoms, and has had unprotected sex with a new or multiple partners, is urged to seek testing.

Normal gonorrhoea can be cleared within seven days of treatment, but super gonorrhoea will require more intensive treatment.

Gonorrhea treatment might involve an intramuscular injection of ceftriaxone, which may be paired with a course of doxycycline or azithromycin.

Dr DiVincenzo added: “Super-resistant gonorrhoea will not respond to this first-line treatment.”

Your healthcare professional will work with you to get rid of super gonorrhoea if infected.

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