The US Centers for Disease Control showed that in the last years the bacterium that provokes gonorrhea developed antibiotic resistance.
The antibiotic-resistant cases of the disease have quadrupled in the country, which may come as a restriction to the available treatment options.
“History shows us that bacteria will find a way to outlast the antibiotics we’re using to treat it. We are running just one step ahead in order to preserve the remaining treatment option for as long as possible,” said Dr. Jonathan Mermin from CDC.
At this moment, the classic gonorrhea treatment still shows results, and in the US all the cases had been successfully cured.
The cases of the sexually transmitted disease that resisted the treatment with azithromycin rose from 0.6% to 2.5% in just one year. The situation is quite worrying as gonorrhea already developed in time resistance to other antibiotics, such as penicillin, fluoroquinolones, and tetracycline.
Another important fact that adds up to the bacterium is that the antibiotic resistance does not resolve over time.
For example, once the gonorrhea got immune to the previously mentioned drugs, their use in treatment was stopped. However, even if the treatment with those substances had been interrupted for decades, the bacterium is still resistant to the drugs.
The standard medical approach to gonorrhea cure is to combine azithromycin with ceftriaxone, another antibiotic. At this moment the effects of the primary drug are strengthened by the second one, but the medical experts fear that the combination may not function for long.
Dr. Mermin says that the solution would be to decrease the number of Americans who get infected by the disease. Prevention is important as with a limitation in hosts, the bacterium will not have the biological support to evolve into new forms.
Some pharmaceutical companies reported starting to work on new medicine to treat gonorrhea. However, the research may need years until it will come with a viable treatment.
Statistics show that over 800,000 cases of gonorrhea appear each year in the United States. However, less than a half of them are diagnosed and treated, as the infection sometimes comes with no symptoms. The disease seems to be more spread among men.
The signs of the illness include burning sensation during urination and colored discharges. Gonorrhea can lead to important health issues, such as infertility, pregnancy risks, and chronic pelvic pain.
As it’s a sexually transmitted disease, the gonorrhea prevention involves the correct use of condoms and limiting the number of sexual partners. A monogamous sexual relation with an uninfected person effectively stops the risk of infection.
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