A ‘super’ strain of Gonorrhoea is sweeping across the world including Britain and Northern Ireland.
The sexually transmitted disease infects millions of people every year and is becoming resistant to all antibiotics, making it untreatable says the World Health Organisation.
The U.N. health agency is urging governments and doctors to step up surveillance of the STD, the second most common after Chlamydia.
Gonorrhoea causes inflammation, infertility, pregnancy complications and, in extreme cases can lead to maternal death.
Babies born to mothers with gonorrhea have a 50 per cent chance of developing eye infections that can result in blindness.
‘This organism has basically been developing resistance against every medication we’ve thrown at it,’ said Dr Manjula Lusti-Narasimhan, a scientist in WHO’s department of STDs.
This includes a group of antibiotics called cephalosporins currently considered the last line of treatment.
Resistance to cephalosporins was first reported in Japan, but more recently in Britain, Australia, France, Sweden and Norway.
As these are all countries with well-developed health systems, it is likely that cephalosporin-resistant strains are also circulating undetected elsewhere.
More than 17,000 new cases of gonorrhea were reported in the UK in 2009. Young men and women are affected most – the highest rates of gonorrhea are seen in women aged 16-19 and men aged 20-24.
With this in mind there’s never been a more important time to practise safe sex. Condoms are so advanced now there’s no excuse not to wrap up!