A British man caught super gonorrhea that is resistant to antibiotics and only realized this after the first choice antibiotics failed. The man caught the infection earlier this year when he was on vacation in Southeast Asia.
Health officials are now tracking the man's sexual history to avoid the spread of the disease.
This strain of gonorrhea is resistant to ceftriaxone and azithromycin, drugs that are recommended by the World Health Organization when treating gonorrhea. WHO has been raising the alarm about the rise of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea.
The man who is being treated for the infection revealed that he has a regular partner in the UK but he didn't contract it from her. He claims that he contracted it while he was on vacation after a one-night stand with someone else.
His symptoms began a month after he returned to the UK. He was put on antibiotics but this didn't change his condition and the infection continued to affect his throat. To improve his condition, he has been given a third antibiotic called ertapenem. He will be retested for the infection again in the middle of April.
Public Health England had to issue a warning regarding the man. It announced that this was the first case of gonorrhea that is resistant to the recommended dual first-line therapy of the two drugs. Super gonorrhea was first seen in England in 2016.
The man's sexual history is being analyzed to reduce the spread of this strain of gonorrhea. So far, no other cases of super gonorrhea have been reported.
Smart Sexually Transmitted Infection
Teodora Wi of the World Health Organization said that the bacteria that cause gonorrhea are smart. She adds that it is constantly evolving to the antibiotics that are used to treat it. Gonorrhea is caused by the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacterium.
Gonorrhea is spread through unprotected vaginal, oral, and anal sex. Each year, there are an estimated 78 million new infections of gonorrhea.
The WHO gathered data from 2009 to 2014 showing that gonorrhea was becoming increasingly resistant to ciprofloxacin, azithromycin, and ceftriaxone. It recommended that health professionals treat super gonorrhea with a combination of azithromycin and ceftriaxone, but this didn't work in the case of the British man.
WHO suggests that there should be a quick development of new drugs to combat super gonorrhea. There have been suggestions that in order to treat gonorrhea, there will be a return to pre-antibiotic treatments.
This includes painful treatments such as applying iodine to the genitals via a urethral or vaginal catheter. There could also be a hot box for treatment, which involves a person being put into a box that is 43 degrees Celcius to kill the bacteria causing the infection.