WORLD - Public health officials are sounding the alarm — again — about the looming problem of drug-resistant gonorrhea in the wake of a Swedish study about four cases that didn’t immediately respond to treatment.
The new “treatment failures” from Europe show the need for new anti-gonorrhea drugs, William Smith, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, said Wednesday. The coalition has also been calling for emergency funding for local health centers to respond to expected cases of drug-resistant gonorrhea, as well as better diagnostic tests for the infections.
Gonorrhea, a sexually transmitted disease seen since medieval times, was once dispatched by penicillin and several other classes of drugs. None of those old treatments are effective any more, as the gonorrhea organism has learned how to resist such drugs. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise gonorrhea treatment of an injectable drug called ceftriaxone — which means a doctor visit — combined with one of two other oral antibiotics — azithromycin or doxycycline. Ceftriaxone was described as the “last proven treatment option” by Dr. Kevin Fenton, former director of the CDC’s agency on AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
In a July study in Eurosurveillance, Swedish researchers reported that four people who acquired gonorrhea through heterosexual activity in 2013 did not respond to their initial treatments. Three people were eventually cured with a second shot of ceftriaxone, and one was cured with a second shot plus a single dose of azithromycin.
The Washington Times/August 27, 2014
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