Just one drug remains effective for the sexually transmitted disease but soon the bacteria may be able to evade it.
This crisis has been building at a slow boil for years now. Back in 2015, a study reported that attempts to curb the increasing resistance of Neisseria gonorrhoeae to standard antibiotic treatment seemed to be failing: researchers studied samples of the bacteria taken throughout the years and saw that the antibiotic ceftriaxone became increasingly less effective as its popularity grew.
An existing vaccine that prevents meningococcal disease may also be up to 40 percent effective at preventing gonorrhea infections, which are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics, with some strains completely incurable.
For the first time ever, researchers at the University of Queensland have found how cannabis can provide a solution to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. A non-psychoactive cannabinoid known as cannabidiol (CBD) has been found to penetrate and kill several highly resistant bacteria, including those responsible for gonorrhea, MRSA, and meningitis. The findings could lead to the creation of the first class of antibiotics for resistant bacteria in 60 years.
Women are hit especially hard by this STI—and were once blamed for its spread. What will a gonorrhea superbug mean for female patients?
The global threat of drug-resistant gonorrhoea is real. Ceftriaxone-resistant strains have not yet been identified in South Africa. But the presence of cefixime resistance and the potential emergence of azithromycin resistance are a clear warning.
Gonorrhea has grown resistant to multiple kinds of drugs, as scientists struggle to come up with other effective, clear options that are well-studied. And as NPR has reported, "experience has shown that once a resistant strain of gonorrhea appears, it steadily displaces those that can be killed with antibiotics."
A global group of experts on sexually transmitted diseases published an article in the scientific journal PLOS Medicine outlining the challenges of drug-resistant gonorrhea. They surveyed 77 countries that participate in a global gonorrhea tracking program and found that more than 90 percent report some kind of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea. That's bad news for patients.
Lola, a sex educator, teaches us about gonorrhoea.
Imagine the conversation after the man told his female partner in England that he had had sexual contact with another woman while traveling abroad. Then picture the dialogue after he revealed that he had caught not only gonorrhea but super gonorrhea. So much for bringing back souvenirs.
Here’s what that actually means, and how to stay safe.
Two-thirds of countries have reported gonorrhea cases that resist all known antibiotics.
Today, many in the public health community will admit that we collectively took our eyes off the ball because Neisseria gonorrhoeae is a very clever bug that has developed the ability to resist nearly all of the antibiotics that have been thrown in its path.
“Our ultimate goal is to have clinicians utilize a test-and-treat algorithm so that you don’t have to use these empiric therapies,” Denver said.
Researchers are developing diagnostics to determine which drugs might work for specific patients.
This once treatable STD is getting too smart for antibiotics.
You never want to see the words "gonorrhea" and "super" in the same sentence, such as "super, you have gonorrhea" or "gonorrhea is super." However, "super" gonorrhea is becoming an increasing reality around the world.
The pandemic has not caused a super-gonorrhea outbreak, but experts say it could
Experts say doctors prescribing more antibiotics during the pandemic to treat COVID-19, particularly azithromycin, could be contributing to this resistance. "The indiscriminate use of antibiotics may actually increase pressure on the development of resistance to gonorrhea," Dr. Peter Leone, Professor of Medicine in Division of Infectious Diseases at the Gillings School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina, told Insider.
Gonorrhea, once an easily treated and relatively mild STI, is becoming a superbug, with major public health implications.
Previously successful approaches are powerless against this new strain of gonorrhea, dubbed as “super gonorrhea.” At this point, the only tool left in the arsenal against untreatable gonorrhea is cephalosporins.
The central question for laboratorians is whether there is anything we can do to detect and help prevent the spread of drug-resistant N. gonorrhoeae. The answer is yes! Clinical laboratories can help control the spread of infection caused by these isolates by providing drug susceptibility information. We can do this by performing susceptibility testing in-house or sending isolates to a reference laboratory to help clinicians choose the right antimicrobials, especially in cases of treatment failure.
There is still hope that enough newer antibiotics and other therapies can be developed in time to avoid the worst-case scenario, where common bacterial infections become as dangerous as they were a century ago. Scientists are also working on vaccines for diseases like gonorrhea. But there’s no one clear solution on the horizon, and the clock is running out.
Non-antibiotic approaches, such as vaccines, phage therapy, and microbiome manipulation, are garnering increased consideration.
Using antibiotics indiscriminately on infectious diseases as if the medications were Nutella can encourage the growth of resistant organisms. Antibiotics like azithromycin are considered “broad spectrum” because they can kill or inactivate a wide range of different bacteria. It’s like using a bomb rather than a rifle. That can be helpful when you don’t know what is causing an infection or when there is no other option.