Warning over highly-resistant gonorrhoea after UK case

A highly resistant strain of gonorrhoea contracted by a UK man has been successfully treated, but officials have warned similar cases are expected.

The patient had a regular female partner in the UK but picked up the infection after a sexual encounter with a women in south-east Asia, Public Health England (PHE) said last month.

It was believed to be the first time globally that the infection could not be treated with first choice antibiotics.

Dr Gwenda Hughes, head of PHE’s sexually transmitted infection (STI) section, said: “We are pleased to report that the case of multi-drug resistant gonorrhoea has been successfully treated.

“Investigations have also revealed there has been no further spread of this infection within the UK.”

The man visited sexual health services in early 2018 but attempts to get rid of the STI with the recommended treatment – a combination of antibiotics azithromycin and ceftriaxone – failed.

The patient was successfully treated after three days of intravenous treatment with antibiotic ertapenem, the PHE report said.

The man’s UK partner tested negative for the infection.

Dr Hughes said: “Two similar cases have just been reported in Australia and serve as a timely reminder that we expect to see further cases of multi-drug resistant gonorrhoea in the future.

“These cases will be challenging for healthcare professionals to manage.

“We urge the public to avoid getting or passing on gonorrhoea by using condoms consistently and correctly with all new and casual partners.

“If you think you have been at risk, you should seek an STI screen at a sexual health clinic.”

Gonorrhea can lead to infertility if left untreated and is known to cause symptoms including unusual discharge and inflammation.

 

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