After a sexual encounter with a south-east Asian woman, a British man has tested positive for a new strand of gonorrhoea that is currently untreatable.
The strand, currently resistant to most of the treatments that have been prescribed, has been described as the world’s deadliest strand of the sexually transmitted infection.
The British man learned of his unfortunate condition four weeks after the return from his holiday after a check-up at the clinic.
Public Health England, a British health executive agency of Department of Health and Social Care in the United Kingdom, cited the man as the first person to suffer from this particular strand.
Upon learning of his condition, doctors prescribed antibiotics that are usually effective in treating the infection, ceftriaxone and azithromycin.
Unfortunately, these treatments were not successful in curing the bug.
Head of the sexually transmitted infection section of the Public Health England Dr Gwenda Hughes expressed that it was highly unusual that a strain would resist so heavily to these antibiotics and that this was a never-seen-before case.
Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted infection, and is an infection from the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Gonorrhoea, or ‘gono’ for short, is transmitted through vaginal, oral or anal sex.
The symptoms vary, but for males gonorrhoea affects the inside of the penis and is characterized by a burning sensation during urination, white or yellow discharge from the urethra, and testicular pain.
In the case of anal or oral gonorrhoea, there may be no signs or symptoms at all, minus a sore throat.
Left untreated, the pain caused from gonorrhoea may worsen, and in the case for females it may lead to pelvic inflammatory disease. This may further lead to infertility.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that close to 80 million people are affected by gonorrhoea annually, world-wide.
In Australia there has been an unprecedented increase in the occurrence of gonorrhoea over the past five years.
The Kirby Institute recently published a report detailing an almost 100% increase in notification rates for gonorrhoea in major cities. Concerns have been raised about the rise of increasingly resistant strains of this disease.
The same report noted a general 63% increase in the presence of gonorrhoea in Australia. In 2016 there were 23,000 diagnosed cases, and undoubtedly several more unreported.
That being said, where incidences of gonorrhoea and syphilis have soared, rates of HIV have not changed much over this period.