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Published: Mon, July 10, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

United Nations health agency: Antibiotic resistance making gonorrhoea 'sometimes impossible' to treat

United Nations health agency: Antibiotic resistance making gonorrhoea 'sometimes impossible' to treat

Unprotected oral sex can lead to gonorrhoea bacteria in the throat.

Lanre Yusuf, a Lagos-based medical practitioner, says gonorrhoea is not on the rise in Nigeria, but that the STI is rapidly resistance to antibiotics as it is becoming harder to treat and even nearly impossible in some cases. There are not many new drugs to help in the treatment and the situation is fairly grim.

As Mic has previously reported, antibiotic resistant gonorrhea has been a growing concern for years. It infects an estimated 78 million people a year, and it can be spread through vaginal, anal or oral sex. In Spain, France and Japan, the infection was totally untreatable, WHO's Dr. Teodora Wi explained.

"These cases may just be the tip of the iceberg". Gonorrhea can infect the genitals, rectum or throat. Health officials are most anxious about the STI affecting the throat.

Introducing the gonorrhoea bacteria into this environment through oral sex can lead to "super-gonorrhoea", the World Health Organization is arguing.

This disease has continuously developed certain degrees of resistance to antibiotics, which made it more unsafe, and harder to treat. This also includes relatives of gonorrhoea.

It's cases in the throat that are most worrying, experts say, as that environment is highly conducive to the growth of bacteria, giving rise to so-called "super bacteria". In the United States, resistance specifically came from men having sex with men due to pharyngeal infection, the health official went further.

Therefore, WHO advises people to use condoms and dental dams all the time, and stay away from untreatable STD forms.

But those who do have symptoms could have a thick green or yellow discharge, lower abdominal pain, pain when urinating and bleeding between periods.

Many of those infected do not have symptoms and remain undiagnosed and untreated.

Experts have also raised concern about the high number of new gonorrhoea infections which they attribute to decreased condom use, increased urbanisation and travel and poor detection rates. It is only a matter of time before last-resort gonorrhoea antibiotics fail.

One of the problems in diagnosing gonorrhoea is that there is no affordable, rapid diagnostic test for the infection.

When the WHO partnered with the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative, a non-governmental organization in Geneva, Switzerland, in May 2016 to confront antimicrobial resistance, gonorrhoea was at the top of the list.

More worryingly, data collected between 2009 and 2014 indicate the development of resistance to drugs of last resort, the cephalosporins are broad-spectrum. Richard Stabler from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

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