Health Chiefs Spot Three Cases Of Antibiotic-Resistant Gonorrhoea

(DAILY MAIL) – Another three cases of a type of an antibiotic-resistant gonorrhoea have been spotted in the UK, health chiefs say.

In one case in London, an unidentified woman in her 20s was found to have a super bug that was immune to ceftriaxone, the main antibiotic used to treat gonorrhoea.

And in the Midlands, a heterosexual couple in their 20s were also diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection (STI) resistant to the drug.

The UK Health Security Agency officials said the patients caught the infections last month and were receiving alternative treatments.

Britain has now recorded four ceftriaxone-resistant gonorrhoea infections in three months, after a man from London in his 20s was diagnosed with a ceftriaxone-resistant infection in November. It was cleared with other treatments.

Dr Katy Sinka, an epidemiologist in STIs at the UKHSA, said it was ‘too soon to say’ whether gonorrhoea resistant to this antibiotic was spreading in the country.

Gonorrhoea is the second most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in Britain, and is spread via unprotected sex.

People infected with the bacteria tend to have a thick green or yellow discharge from their vagina or penis and experience pain when urinating.

If left untreated, the disease can lead to serious complications including infertility and potentially life-threatening pelvic inflammatory disease in women. In pregnant women, it can also cause permanent blindness for newborns.

Antibiotics to treat gonorrhoea are given either orally or via an injection into the thigh or buttocks, with symptoms normally clearing a few days later.

Cases of the mutant strain resistant to ceftriaxone have been rising in the Asia-Pacific region.

The UKHSA said cases in Britain are normally ‘in people who have visited or who have moved to the UK from this region’.

Dr Sinka added: ‘After a couple of years without any cases of this hard to treat form of gonorrhoea, we have now seen four cases in the last two months.

‘It’s too soon to say whether this will be the start of a longer-term trend, but we do know that STIs are on the rise in general.’

The UKHSA raised the alarm in 2018 after a British man was found to have a gonorrhoea infection resistant to both ceftriaxone and azithromycin.

They said the man was having regular sex with a woman in the UK, but became infected with the strain after a one-off encounter with a woman in South East Asia.

The man told doctors his gonorrhoea symptoms began a month after the encounter.

It was the first case ever recorded of an infection resistant to both antibiotics.

The patient was treated with a third antibiotic — ertapenem — before the case was cleared.

British doctors used to prescribe the antibiotic ciprofloxacin to treat gonorrheoa infections.

But in 2005 it was no longer recommended as a possible treatment because the bacteria had become resistant.

Nonetheless, official analysis showed doctors were still prescribing the drug to treat the infection as late as 2011.

Another antibiotic — cefixime — was also dropped for treating gonorrhoea in 2011 after the bacteria became resistant to it.

Chief medics have previously warned the disease could soon become untreatable.