Antibiotic resistance is making gonorrhea harder and sometimes even impossible to treat, according to a new warning from the World Health Organization (WHO). Therefore, a new drug may be urgently needed to treat the disease.
Gonorrhea, also called “the clap“, is a disease caused by bacteria. Untreated, it can cause painful pelvic inflammation in women, and infertility in both genders.
In extreme cases, the bacteria can spread in the blood to cause life-threatening infections in other parts of the body.
Symptoms of infection include painful urination and abnormal discharge, but many will experience no symptoms at all.
Gonorrhea resistance to penicillin and tetracycline, a common broad-spectrum antibiotic, first emerged in the 1970s in Asia, spreading to the rest of the world during the early 1980s, according to the WHO.
Resistance to the next level antibiotic, ciprofloxacin, developed in the mid-2000s.
A third generation of drugs called cephalosporins — orally-administered cefixime and injectable ceftriaxone — then came into use.
But resistance to cefixime — and more rarely to ceftriaxone — has now been reported in more than 50 countries.
These are so-called multi-drug resistant (MDR) strains.