WHO: Gonorrhea has become harder, sometimes impossible to treat | Inquirer News

WHO: Gonorrhea has become harder, sometimes impossible to treat

/ 08:05 PM July 10, 2017

Gonorrhea, a common sexually-transmitted infection (STI), has now become “much harder, and sometimes, impossible to treat,” according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

In a statement issued last Friday, WHO said that this is due to its “antibiotic resistance.”

Gonoccoci (Neisseria gonorrhoeae), the bacteria causing the disease, are “particularly smart,” according to Dr. Teodora Wi, a human reproduction medical officer at WHO.


“Every time we use a new class of antibiotics to treat the infection, the bacteria evolve to resist them,“ she said.


According to WHO, there has been a “widespread resistance to older and cheaper antibiotics” and some high-income countries have discovered cases of gonorrhea that are “untreatable by all known antibiotics.”

Wi said these findings were possibly just the “tip of the iceberg,” because lower-income countries – where gonorrhea is more prevalent – lacked “systems to diagnose and report untreatable infections.”

According to WHO, gonorrhea – which can infect not only the genitals but also the rectum and the throat – affects about 78 million people per year.

Gonorrhea trends, however, are being monitored through WHO’s Global Gonococcal Antimicrobial Surveillance Programme.

In addition, WHO and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative have launched the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP), a not-for-profit research and development organization that aims to “develop new antibiotic treatments, and promote appropriate use.”

For Dr. Manica Balasegaram, GARDP director, “any new treatment developed should be accessible to everyone who needs it.”


Aside from new antibiotics, there is also a need for “rapid, accurate, point-of-care diagnostic tests,” according to Dr. Marc Sprenger, WHO Antimicrobial Resistance director.

“Ideally, ones that can predict which antibiotics will work on that particular infection – and longer term, a vaccine to prevent gonorrhea,” Sprenger added. Renz Paolo B. Regis, INQUIRER.net trainee /atm

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TAGS: gonorrhea, Teodoro Wi

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