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Gonorrhea: Pathogens with antibiotic resistance to a dangerous extent

Gonorrhea: Pathogens with antibiotic resistance to a dangerous extent

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Antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains continue to increase
Gonorrhea is a relatively common, sexually transmitted disease. A new study has now found that the disease may soon no longer be able to be treated with the usual medication. The triggering bacterium of the disease (Neisseria gonorrhoeae) has become resistant to azithromycin and ceftriaxone to a large percentage. These drugs are usually used to treat gonorrhea effectively.

In a recent study, US scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea, colloquially known as gonorrhea, may soon no longer be able to be treated with antibiotics. Strains of bacteria resistant to antibiotics, which are considered to be the cause of the disease, continue to increase worldwide. This could make treatment of the widespread disease considerably more difficult in the future. The doctors published the results of their study in the "Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report" of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Gonorrhea spreads through unprotected sex
The experts explain that gonorrhea is a widespread venereal disease that is caused by the infection of the mucous membranes of the urinary and genital organs. The disease is also known as gonorrhea. Gonorrhea occurs only in humans. With an increasing number of sexual partners, the probability of infection with gonorrhea increases with unprotected sexual intercourse. It is also possible that infected pregnant women can transmit the disease to their baby.

The number of unreported cases of gonorrhea is extremely high
In Germany alone there are about ten to 25 sick people per 100,000 inhabitants. This number corresponds to around 10,000 to 20,000 illnesses per year. In Saxony, the number of sick people per 100,000 inhabitants rose from 6.8 in 2003 to 14.3 in 2010. The number of unreported cases of the disease is also extremely high, warn the experts. The internationally recognized Robert Koch Institute estimated that the number of unreported cases was around 85 percent in the 1990s.

There is a need to act immediately
The observed spread of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea could only be temporary, say the doctors. However, it is also quite possible that this is the beginning of a much more severe STD. But the increase in resistance underscores the need for immediate action, the researchers add. This is the only way to ensure that we can continue to treat people with gonorrhea effectively, explains author Robert Kirkcaldy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Resistant bacterial strains need to be monitored better
The past has shown us that resistance to common antibiotics in bacteria in general is increasing. The spread of dangerous gonorrhea strains is also progressing. For this reason, it is crucial that we intensify the monitoring of resistant bacterial strains and the identification of new treatment methods, the scientists say.

Many strains of bacteria are already resistant to a wide variety of antibiotics
The researchers collected 5,093 gonorrhea isolates for their study. The doctors found that 2.5 percent of the isolated samples were now resistant to azithromocyn. 25 percent of the isolates in the study were resistant to tetracycline, 19 percent were resistant to ciproflaxin and 16 percent were resistant to penicillin, the scientists add.

Treatments should be made with a combination of azithromycin and ceftriaxonen
The American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend treating gonorrhea with a combination of azithromycin and ceftriaxone. The CDC experts warn against the use of azithromycin alone because this could promote resistance to the drug. (as)

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