- Chris Morris
- Apr 18, 2016
- 2574 Views
British doctors are extremely concerned about an outbreak of so-called ‘super-gonorrhoea’ which has spread across England particularly amongst homosexual men.
This new superbug has previously prompted a national alert after its emergence in Leeds last year.
Already one of the main ways of treating the disease has been rendered impotent.
Public Health England acknowledges measures to contain the outbreak have been of “limited success”.
It is now feared that the sexually transmitted infection could soon become untreatable, leading to large amounts of infertility across Britain.
Already the disease has spread to the West Midlands, London and southern England.
While a relatively paltry 34 cases have been confirmed in laboratory testing, it is believed that far more have yet to be identified by the authorities.
Peter Greenhouse, a consultant in sexual health based in Bristol, stated that he and other experts have been concerned for some time that the disease could indeed spread widely.
“We’ve been worried it would spread to men who have sex with men. The problem is [they] tend to spread infections a lot faster simply as they change partners more quickly. They are also more likely to have gonorrhoea in their throats. There further resistance is more likely to develop as antibiotics get to the throat in lower doses and the area is also teeming with other bacteria that can share the resistance to drugs.”
A problem in identifying the disease is that infected individuals will often have no easily recognisable symptoms.
Senior doctors warn that gonorrhoea could become untreatable in the foreseeable future if the situation persists.
And Dr Gwenda Hughes, the head of the sexually transmitted infections unit at Public Health England, certainly believes that the existing situation is extremely grave.
“We cannot afford to be complacent. If strains of gonorrhoea emerge that are resistant to both azithromycin and ceftriaxone, treatment options would be limited as there is currently no new antibiotic available to treat the infection.”
Practising safe sex can reduce the risk and incidence of the disease, and a concerted public health campaign is already underway to identify sexual partners of people who possess the superbug.
Yet Public Health England acknowledges that any such campaign is likely to be minimally successful, and that dealing with the gonorrhoea issue will be a massive challenge for the authorities.
Of 50 sexual partners reported thus far, only 22 were successfully followed up, but, worryingly, 94% of partners tested had the infection.
Dr Elizabeth Carlin of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, urged a strong response to the serious situation.
“The spread of high level azithromycin-resistant gonorrhoea is a huge concern and it is essential that every effort is made to contain further spread. Failure to respond appropriately will jeopardise our ability to treat gonorrhoea effectively and will lead to poorer health outcomes for individuals and society as a whole.”