Gonorrhoea infections are on the rise, and doctors are running out of antibiotics capable of fighting the increasingly resistant bacteria, causing the sexual disease, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned yesterday.
The sexually-transmitted infection affects an estimated 78 million people each year and disproportionately affects women, leading to pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy and infertility, as well as increasing the risk of HIV.
Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by bacteria called neisseria gonorrhoeae or gonococcus.
It is mainly found in discharge from the manhood and in vaginal fluid and can easily pass between people through unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex.
Two-thirds of the countries that report resistance data to the WHO have seen cases in recent years in which their antibiotics of last resort no longer worked against gonococci bacteria.
“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 gonorrhoea is actually more common,” WHO expert, Teodora Wi, said in Geneva.
She added:”Gonorrhoea is a very smart bug.
“Every time you introduce a new type of antibiotic to treat it, this bug develops resistance to it.”
She spoke of three cases of the disease.
”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 gonorrhoea is actually more common.”