Gonorrhoea has been classified as an urgent public-health threat in the United States after it has grown drug-resistant.
At least 2 million people in the United States develop serious bacterial infections that are resistant to one or more types of antibiotics each year, and at least 23,000 die from the infections, according to a new report.
They also include diaorrhea-causing superbug C difficile and a fast-growing killer “nightmare” bacteria dubbed a known as CRE.
It comes as experts warn we are fast approaching a “post anti-biotic era” where the “cushion of drugs” to protect us against diseases is gone.
Overprescribing of antibiotics has been held to blame for the increase in drug resistance.
Experts say it allows pathogens the opportunity to outwit the drugs used to treat them.
And only a handful of new antibiotics have been developed and brought to market in the past few decades, with only a few companies working on drugs to replace them.
Dr Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which released the report, said: “For organism after organism, we’re seeing this steady increase in resistance rates.
“We don’t have new drugs about to come out of the pipeline. If and when we get new drugs, unless we do a better job of protecting them, we’ll lose those, also.”
From the CDC web site:
Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a bacterium. Gonorrhea can grow easily in the warm, moist areas of the reproductive tract, including the cervix (opening to the womb), uterus (womb), and fallopian tubes (egg canals) in women, and in the urethra (urine canal) in women and men. The bacterium can also grow in the mouth, throat, eyes, and anus.
Gonorrhea is a very common infectious disease. CDC estimates that, annually, 820,000 people in the United States get new gonorrhea infections and less than half of these infections are detected and reported to CDC. CDC estimates that 570,000 of them were among young people 15-24 years of age. In 2011, 321,849 cases of gonorrhea were reported to CDC.
People get gonorrhea by having sex with someone who has the disease. “Having sex” means anal, vaginal, or oral sex. Gonorrhea can still be transmitted via fluids even if a man does not ejaculate. Gonorrhea can also be spread from an untreated mother to her baby during childbirth.
People who have had gonorrhea and have been treated may get infected again if they have sexual contact with a person infected with gonorrhea.
Any sexually active person can be infected with gonorrhea. It is a very common STD. …
Some men with gonorrhea may have no symptoms at all. However, common symptoms in men include a burning sensation when urinating, or a white, yellow, or green discharge from the penis that usually appears 1 to 14 days after infection. Sometimes men with gonorrhea get painful or swollen testicles.
Most women with gonorrhea do not have any symptoms. Even when a woman has symptoms, they are often mild and can be mistaken for a bladder or vaginal infection. The initial symptoms in women can include a painful or burning sensation when urinating, increased vaginal discharge, or vaginal bleeding between periods. Women with gonorrhea are at risk of developing serious complications from the infection, even if symptoms are not present or are mild.
Symptoms of rectal infection in both men and women may include discharge, anal itching, soreness, bleeding, or painful bowel movements. Rectal infections may also cause no symptoms. Infections in the throat may cause a sore throat, but usually cause no symptoms.
Untreated gonorrhea can cause serious and permanent health problems in both women and men.
In women, gonorrhea can spread into the uterus (womb) or fallopian tubes (egg canals) and cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). The symptoms may be mild or can be very severe and can include abdominal pain and fever. PID can lead to internal abscesses (pus-filled pockets that are hard to cure) and chronic (long-lasting) pelvic pain. PID can damage the fallopian tubes enough that a woman will be unable to have children. It also can increase her risk of ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy is a life-threatening condition in which a fertilized egg grows outside the uterus, usually in a fallopian tube.
In men, gonorrhea can cause a painful condition called epididymitis in the tubes attached to the testicles. In rare cases, this may prevent a man from being able to father children.
If not treated, gonorrhea can also spread to the blood or joints. This condition can be life-threatening.
Gonorrhea can be cured with the right treatment. It is important to take all of the medication prescribed to cure gonorrhea. Medication for gonorrhea should not be shared with anyone. Although medication will stop the infection, it will not repair any permanent damage done by the disease. Drug-resistant strains of gonorrhea are increasing, and successful treatment of gonorrhea is becoming more difficult. If a person’s symptoms continue for more than a few days after receiving treatment, he or she should return to a health care provider to be reevaluated.
If a person has been diagnosed and treated for gonorrhea, he or she should tell all recent anal, vaginal, or oral sex partners so they can see a health care provider and be treated. This will reduce the risk that the sex partners will develop serious complications from gonorrhea and will also reduce the person’s risk of becoming re-infected. A person with gonorrhea and all of his or her sex partners must avoid having sex until they have completed their treatment for gonorrhea and until they no longer have symptoms.
Latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, can reduce the risk of getting or giving gonorrhea. The most certain way to avoid gonorrhea is to not have sex or to be in a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and is known to be uninfected.