Wednesday, June 6, 2012

‘Super’ gonorrhea sweeping the globe, health experts warn


Mutated strain that is resistant to antibiotics has popped up in several countries, doesn't produce tell-tale symptoms.

Health officials are warning about a “super” strain of gonorrhea that is now sweeping the globe. Scientists first discovered the antibiotic-resistant version of the sexually transmitted disease in Japan in 2008, and are worried about it spreading after cases cropped up in Australia, France, Norway, Sweden and Britain, the Associated Press reported.
“This organism has basically been developing resistance against every medication we’ve thrown at it,” Dr. Manjula Lusti-Narasimhan, a scientist in the World Health Organization’s department of sexually transmitted diseases, told the AP.  In a couple of years it will have become resistant to every treatment option we have available now,” she said.
Gonorrhea, sometimes known as the clap, is the second most common STD in the world after chlamydia, with some 106 million cases reported worldwide each year and about 700,000 in the U.S.  It typically causes abdominal pain, discharge and painful urination. If left untreated, it can lead to more serious conditions such as birth defects and fetus death.
It’s usually knocked out by a group of antibiotics known as cephalosporins, which can be taken orally or injected. But scientists say the meds have been no match for the new “superbug.”  Experts don’t know how wide the antibiotic-resistant strain has spread. “The available data only shows the tip of the iceberg,” Lusti-Narasimhan said. Even worse, the mutated strain doesn’t cause the telltale symptoms typically associated with regular gonorrhea.
“They used to say that if you have urethral gonorrhea [and you went to the bathroom], it would be like passing razor blades. It was that painful,” Francis Ndowa, the WHO’s former head specialist on STDs. “Now people with gonorrhea sometimes ... only notice the discharge … it’s not that painful anymore.” The WHO called for more research into new drugs and alternative treatments, while health experts encouraged anyone with the infection to take two or more antibiotics at the same time to reduce the chances of new strains developing.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/super-gonorrhea-sweeping-globe-health-experts-warn-article-1.1090959#ixzz1x2rldMh8