Feel like getting frisky this Friday? Well, you might want to think again.
Gonorrhoea is causing a lot of problems and scientist are scratching their heads with what to do on the matter. 3 people are known to be infected with untreatable gonorrhoea, which will end up spreading to more people the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Friday.
Superbugs are a threat to everyone. Throughout decades of antibiotic uses, bugs like gonorrhoea have adapted a resistance to them. When this happens, it is no longer curable and our last line of antibiotics becomes useless.
“Gonorrhoea is a very smart bug,” said Teodora Wi, a human reproduction specialist at the Geneva-based UN health agency.
“Every time you introduce a new type of antibiotic to treat it, this bug develops resistance to it.”
Symptoms of gonorrhoea are not pleasant. They could include green or yellow discharge from the genitals, a burning sensation when urinating, and pain in the genitals. Additional effects are pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy and infertility, as well as increasing the risk of getting HIV.
78 million people are estimated to get gonorrhoea each year, whilst bugs get more resistant each year. Japan, France, and Spain each have one person with strains gonorrhoea that no known antibiotic is effective against.
“These are cases that can infect others. It can be transmitted,” Teodora Wi told reporters. “And these cases may just be the tip of the iceberg, since systems to diagnose and report untreatable infections are lacking in lower-income countries where gonorrhoea is actually more common.”
Manica Balasegaram, director of the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership, said the situation was “grim” and there was a “pressing need” for new medicines.
“We urgently need to seize the opportunities we have with existing drugs and candidates in the pipeline,” he told reporters. “Any new treatment developed should be accessible to everyone who needs it, while ensuring it is used appropriately, so that drug resistance is slowed as much as possible.”
If you’re confused about how superbugs develop, Carl Zimmer discusses the mega plate to show how antibiotic resistance evolves.
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