Friday, July 15, 2011

Drug Resistant Gonorrhea Found

The last remaining, safe treatments for Gonorrhea are
becoming less effective as more resistant strains develop.

Wired Science has an article about Multidrug-Resistant strains of Gonorrhea, which are being found worldwide. The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a report detailing the rising threat and rapidly decreasing number of treatment options available. From the Wired article:

“Now comes the CDC to say that, in a survey of gonorrhea (Neisseria gonorrhoeae) isolates from across the US between 2000 and 2010, the agency has spotted rising rates of decreasing susceptibility not only to cefixime, but also to ceftriaxone. The increases are small — from 0.2% of about 5,900 isolates per year in 2000 to 1.4%  in 2010 for cefixime, and from 0.1% in 2000 to 0.3% in 2010 for ceftriaxone — but that they are occurring at all should ring an alarm bell.”

We have previously discussed anti-microbial resistance and this increasing problem. This particular increase in gonorrhea is scary because almost all of the primary treatments are showing greatly reduced efficacy. When people are treated for STDs like Gonorrhea, it is important that the treatment is both inexpensive (so clinics can afford to treat people) and as close to a one time treatment as possibe. If a patient has to do more to manage their own treatment (a full course of antibiotics, or multiple visits to a clinic), then the risks of incomplete treatments (causing even faster development of resistant strains) greatly increases. As we run out of effective treatments, less safe drugs may be the only treatment, but with greater risk of side effects.

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