Summary of WHO’s latest repot on antibiotic-resistant Gonorrhoea

There are recent cases of gonorrhoea, a common sexually-transmitted infection, which are untreatable by all known antibiotics. However, these cases are from developed countries. It could be even worse in developing or third-world countries.

According to Dr Teodora Wi, Medical Officer, Human Reproduction at WHO, ‘The bacteria that cause gonorrhoea are particularly smart. Every time we use a new class of antibiotics to treat the infection, the bacteria evolve to resist them.’

Each year, an estimated 78 million people are infected with gonorrhoea.

Gonorrhoea can infect the genitals, rectum, and throat. Complications of gonorrhoea disproportionally affect women, including pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy and infertility, as well as an increased risk of HIV.

Why it’s going so bad with Gonorrhoea?

Decreasing condom use, increased urbanization and travel, poor infection detection rates, and inadequate or failed treatment all contribute to this increase. Look the points here – increased urbanization and travel, that also includes ‘sex tourism.’

Prostitutes line up, waiting for clients in Singapore Red Light District. Photo credit: David Sifry (Source: Flickr)

Prostitutes line up, waiting for clients in Singapore Red Light District. Photo credit: David Sifry (Source: Flickr)

Symptoms of Gonorrhoea

According to WHO: Many people who are infected with gonorrhoea do not have any symptoms, so they go undiagnosed and untreated.

On the other hand, however, when patients do have symptoms, such as discharge from the urethra or the vagina, doctors often assume it is gonorrhoea and prescribe antibiotics – even though people may be suffering from another kind of infection. The overall inappropriate use of antibiotics increases the development of antibiotic resistance in gonorrhoea as well as other bacterial diseases.

The bad news:

The development of new antibiotics is not very attractive for commercial pharmaceutical companies.

Currently only 3 new candidate drugs in various stages of clinical development: solithromycin, for which a phase III trial has recently been completed; zoliflodacin, which has completed a phase II trial; and gepotidacin, which has also completed a phase II trial.

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