World Health Organisation warns there could soon be 'no effective treatment' for gonorrhoea

 

There could soon be “no effective treatment” against the sexually transmitted infection, gonorrhoea, which infects more than 100 million people globally every year, the World Health Organisation warned today.

In a new appeal to the global medical community, the WHO said several countries including the UK had reported cases of the infection resitant to the last line of antibiotics and millions were at risk of running out of treatment options.

It called for “greater vigilance” in the correct use of antibiotics and more research into new treatments to head off a threatened global health disaster.

"Gonorrhoea is becoming a major public health challenge, due to the high incidence of infections accompanied by dwindling treatment options. The available data only shows the tip of the iceberg. Without adequate surveillance we won't know the extent of resistance to gonorrhoea and without research into new antimicrobial agents, there could soon be no effective treatment for patients," Dr Manjula Lusti-Narasimhan, from the Department of Reproductive Health and Research at WHO, said. 

 The warning is the third to be issued about gonorrhoea by WHO in three years.  Experts say the growth of antibiotic resistance creating potentially untreatable infections poses as great a threat to public health as the emergence of new diseases such as Aids and pandemic flu.

Gonorrhoea is the second most common sexually transmitted disease in the UK after chlamydia. There were almost 21,000 cases reported in 2011, an unprecedented 25 per cent increase on the previous year. The Health Protection Agency warned doctors two years ago to treat cases with two antibiotics in combination after it became clear that traditional therapy with a single antibiotic was no longer enough.

Untreated, gonorrhoea can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility in both men and women, ectopic pregnancy and stillbirth.

"We are very concerned about recent reports of treatment failure from the last effective treatment option - the class of cephalosporin antibiotics - as there are no new therapeutic drugs in development,"  Dr Lusti-Narasimhan said.

Antibitoic resistance is rising in all infections and represents medicine’s equivalent of climate change, experts say. An estimated 25,000 people die each year in the European Union from antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections.

An offical report earlier this year from the Government’s antibiotic resistance working party warned Britain faced a “massive rise” in cases of antibiotic-resistant blood poisoning.

 Dame Sally Davies, the Government's chief medical officer,  pledged £500,000 to fund research into the threat.

Reports have increased across Europe of patients with infections that are nearly impossible to treat. Last year the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) said  that in some countries up to 50 per cent of cases of blood poisoning caused by one bug - K. pneumoniae, a common cause of urinary and respiratory conditions - were resistant to carbapenems, the most powerful class of antibiotics.

Marc Sprenger, the director, said: "The situation is critical.”

Discovering new medicines to treat resistant superbugs has proved increasingly difficult and costly - they are taken only for a short period and the commercial returns are low. The European Commission last year  launched a plan to boost research into new antibiotics, by promising accelerated approval for new drugs and funding for development.

Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
News
peoplePamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals
Arts and Entertainment
tvExecutive says content is not 'without any purpose'
News
A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
News
newsChester Zoo have revealed their newest members
Sport
sportLeague Managers' Association had described Malky Mackay texts as 'friendly banter'
Arts and Entertainment
tvSpielberg involved in bringing his 2002 film to the small screen
News
peopleCareer spanned 70 years, including work with Holocaust survivors
News
people
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Hydrographic Survey Manager

    £40000 - £50000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

    Structural Engineer

    Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Structural Engineer Job...

    Generalist HR Administrator, Tunbridge Wells, Kent - £28,000.

    £25000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Generalist HR Administrator - Tunbri...

    Head of IT (Not-for-Profit sector) - East Sussex

    £45000 - £50000 per annum + 5 weeks holiday & benefits: Ashdown Group: Head of...

    Day In a Page

    Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

    Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

    The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
    Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

    Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

    A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
    Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

    Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

    Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
    Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

    Nick Clegg the movie

    Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
    Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

    Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

    Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
    Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

    Waxing lyrical

    Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
    Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

    Revealed (to the minute)

    The precise time when impressionism was born
    From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

    Make the most of British tomatoes

    The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
    10 best men's skincare products

    Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

    Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
    Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

    Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

    The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
    La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

    Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

    Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
    Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
    Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

    Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

    Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
    Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
    Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

    Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

    Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape