Scientists warn: drug-resistant super-gonorrhoea poses a ‘major global threat’


Doctors have called the new strain extensively drug-resistant and different from ones seen before according to today, Wednesday 22

An unidentified man, in his 50s, became infected after having unprotected sex with a prostitute while on holiday in Cambodia in April.

Five days later, when he returned home, he experienced a burning pain while urinating and discharge from his penis.

Medical tests revealed he had gonorrhoea and he was given standard antibiotics.

While the drugs made his symptoms disappear, the man still tested positive which meant the treatment had technically failed.

Doctors called his strain ‘extensively drug resistant’ and different to ones seen before.

They warned it could effectively render gonorrhoea untreatable if it was allowed to spread.

Lord Jim O’Neill, an economist who chaired a Government review on antimicrobial resistance, said he was concerned about a lack of diagnostic tools when it came to using antibiotics in Britain.

“It is alarming to me still, especially having gone through Covid, how we are not embedding state-of-the-art technology right in the middle of our health systems,” he said.

Blood tests could be used in some cases to determine someone’s infection, allowing medics to crack down on unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions.

Overprescribing and the inappropriate doling out of antibiotics have been attributed as one reason behind the rise of superbugs.

Tackling the issue was a recommendation of Lord O’Neill’s review.

“Our most aggressive recommendation was that we should actually ban the use of subjective prescriptions in secondary settings… until they’d done through a secondary diagnostic,” he told MPs.

“In the UK that’s the area that has been the most persistently disappointing.”

The whole NHS and its thought leaders, never mind ministers, don’t seem to grasp the scale of the power of the appropriate use of technology that could reduce this issue permanently.”

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Anna Ellis

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