The STI Clinic News > Drug Resistant Gonorrhoea
# Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Posted: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 | Categories: Gonorrhoea

Although we have been aware about the concerns relating to antibiotic resistant gonorrhoea for some time, there has been a new development. The antibiotic resistant gonorrhoea strain, which goes by the name “gonorrhoea HO41”, was initially discovered in a sex-worker in Japan. Although there were some reports recently that the virus had spread outside of Japan, they have now been retracted in mainstream media. To date, the virus has not gone beyond Japan and there are no known cases where an individual has died after contracting the virus.


It was reported recently that the Chief Medical Officer in the UK recommended that the threat from drug resistant gonorrhoea be added to the civil emergencies risk register. In addition to that, several articles in US media recently compared the threat of antibiotic resistant gonorrhoea to the threat AIDS once used to pose. Gonorrhoea is easier to transmit than HIV so there is potentially a greater public health risk.


The main reason for the widespread media reporting on this matter was that experts announced that gonorrhoea HO41 could be considered as a rather aggressive virus, which could potentially kill the infected individual in a matter of days as a result of septic shock. Perhaps it would be helpful if the current reports were put into context along with other research on “super bugs” that may be resistant to treatment (such as such as MRSA). Although there is a steady increase of cases with gonorrhoea HO41 in Japan, when weighing these numbers to the reports on MRSA, the rate of infection is still comparatively low.


Although there is always room for new research to be conducted and for policies to be implemented, it is also clear that simple individual precautions should not be ignored. These include keeping informed about sexually transmitted infections and new viruses, practising safe sex and getting tested when appropriate, such as after a risky event or when you change partners.


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