WHO: Sexually-transmitted superbug could be major crisis
Gonorrhea bacteria causes a sexually-transmitted infection in about 106 million people worldwide each year.
June 6th, 2012
01:13 PM ET

WHO: Sexually-transmitted superbug could be major crisis

A major public health crisis is emerging, in the form of a sexually-transmitted disease that doesn't respond to antibiotics, World Health Organization officials said Wednesday.

Gonorrhea is one of the most common sexually-transmitted infections. It is spread through oral, vaginal and anal sex. About 106 million people worldwide become infected every year.

"Once this organism develops full resistance to this last antibiotic that we have, we have nothing else to offer to these patients," says Dr. Manjula Lusti-Narasimhan, scientist at the Department of Reproductive Health and Research at WHO.

The organization has just released a global action plan encouraging greater awareness and advocacy, research, increased prevention efforts and monitoring of gonorrhea treatment failure. The same sorts of prevention messages apply for gonorrhea as for HIV/AIDS: Practice safe sex - correct and consistent use of condoms - and limit the number of sexual partners.

Australia, France, Japan, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom are among the countries reporting cases of gonorrhea that does not respond to cephalosporin antibiotics, which is the last treatment option against gonorrhea. These are developed countries with good health care systems, meaning countries less well off may be even more at risk for a crisis.

"If the resistence is there, what we think is that we’re sitting at a tip of an iceberg,"  Lusti-Narasimhan said. "For places in many other parts of the world where there are much less both human and financial resources, it’s very difficult to know the extent of the data."

The consequences of an untreated infection are harsh. In both men and women, it can cause infertility. Up to half of babies born from mothers with gonorrhea have severe eye infections, which could lead to blindness. Women who are pregnant may have spontaneous abortions or ectopic pregnancies. If the bacteria gets to other parts of the body, joint pain, swelling and stiffness are possible.

The WHO does not know the extent of the spread of drug-resistant gonorrhea yet. The infections don't seem to be as resistant in the United States as in some of the other countries, but there is increased susceptibility, Lusti-Narasimhan said. More surveillance is needed globally to fully assess how widespread these resistant infections are.

Bacteria may become resistant to antibiotics as a result of overuse or improper use of antimicrobial agents as well as poor-quality versions of these drugs. Strains of gonorrhea in particular appear to have a particularly good ability to become resistant.

soundoff (438 Responses)
  1. King Hoag

    Hi Fester, well I cant agree with you less on Norway. I went there in my 20's and ran through everything I could. Pretty sure they are not as clean as you think. As long as everyone jimmy's up there wont be a problem.

    June 7, 2012 at 16:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. King Hoag

    Remember back in the good old days when there was just bad Gono? Now there is never-gonna-get-rid-of-it Gono. This is terrible.

    June 7, 2012 at 16:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. aaronmike

    Since there are no scary run and hide STDs left the WHO is creating one. I myself am not going to hesitate to jump on every opportunity to get the latest update of an old classic. No big deal, cancer will kill you before this. Eat well, be happy and get your freak on. I'm pretty sure if you play the Bible backwards that's what it'll say.

    June 7, 2012 at 17:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Luek

      Wow you're an idiot. Please die before the cancer gets you. How many of these are you spreading around huh? People like you only help this get worse. You can be happy, eat well, and get your freak on without ruining the world around you!

      June 7, 2012 at 18:03 | Report abuse |
  4. Jesus

    There goes the magical spontaneous hookup. Now it becomes very "organized". Testing immediately before, wait 'til the test results come in, and then MAYBE , if you're still in the mood.

    June 7, 2012 at 17:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MrBo

      I'd say hookups have an even better chance of being magical. A permanent kind of magic that leaves a burning sensation in its wake.
      Have at it!

      June 7, 2012 at 17:49 | Report abuse |
  5. King Hoag

    aaronmike, pretty sure you may be on to something. I had Gono when I was a kid and they told me about all of the possible problems later down the line. A week of anti's and I was good as new. In fact I hooked up with this chick who said we should wear a rubber becuase she had it and I told her I dont mind another week of anti's. If this "new" strain is that bad then they will find a way to cure it. Keep on keeping on.....

    June 7, 2012 at 19:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Andrew

    Time to look at phage therapies

    June 7, 2012 at 19:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. gross


    June 7, 2012 at 19:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. zackinColo

    When I got clap in the PI(1980), I remember telling the corpsman, get the Trobicin. Don't bother with Penicillin.
    I'm surprised it took so many years...

    June 7, 2012 at 23:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Rod C. Venger

    Tsh. Well, the pus-guzzlin phgs will love this new twist, huh? lol

    June 8, 2012 at 01:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Moises

      amanda_1981 Posted on It's not so bad, it's just not awesome. LOL I have that prbolem all the time. :-\ It's hard to get ANYTHING awesome out of those dern KK's. I am more than disappointed with my tubes . I wish I would have bought the long skinny ones instead of the round ones so they didn't take up SO MUCH ROOM! It's silly because they're the SAME THING. Anywho, I agree that it'd kinda be silly to move on if it only holds a milk jug. Also, those handles are just going to pop off if you secure them with the plastic bag yarn. I know; I tried this. LOL Know what I used mine for? Dish scrubbie! It makes an AMAZING scrubber and washer really clean in the dishwasher. 🙂

      August 2, 2012 at 09:30 | Report abuse |
    • Victoria

      I tried that and it didn’t work. The prleobm isn’t the file. The prleobm has to do with the way WordPress brings the data in and converts it for use in MySQL. For some reason it inserts a bunch of hard line breaks when there should be none.As it is I have to use another tool to quickly remove the line breaks in each entry–sigh–one by one.Or maybe, and this is more risky, I could see what table MySQL keeps my entries in and export that table as a text file, clean it up with regular expression based search and replace, and then import that corrected table back in.I’ll have to see what kind of front end Hostway provides for MySQL.

      August 4, 2012 at 00:01 | Report abuse |
  10. gardenia Thongsilp

    Its interesting and maybe ironic that these "developed" countries like the US, UK, France etc are showing high rates of infection coupled with a resistance to the antibiotic cephalosporin; could it be that developed countries also tend to abuse the use of antibiotics leading to resistance in the first place. Getting cephalosporin to places where it is the first step vs the last resort may help infection rates worldwide.

    June 8, 2012 at 04:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Olga

      KMOM14 Posted on LOL. I really got a kick out you post. We have all had prjoects that go awry it makes us appreciate our successes that much more.I'd just glue some googly eyes on him and tell the boys that Horton ended up having to have his ear surgically removed because he got one too many piercings in it and it got infected and to keep that in mind when all your friends are getting their ears pierced multiple times think of Horton!

      August 4, 2012 at 01:17 | Report abuse |
  11. b38395

    This is why you never go atm.

    June 8, 2012 at 07:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Bridgette

    Thank god I am married and never have to worry about stuff like this lol

    June 8, 2012 at 07:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Informed

      Hope your husband doesn't cheat...

      July 3, 2012 at 09:22 | Report abuse |
  13. hsr arora

    we must thank WHO for the IEC.We do not need to dive at all the pools- only at safe, secured & socially acceptable places ie married wife Promiscuity will damage .

    June 9, 2012 at 03:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rishy

      Our school abamssador team has chosen to try the Build Your Own Shake-Up for our Healthy Eating Play. The team decided on the Shake-Up activity due to the fact that our school community loves smoothies! The Pre-Class Lap Run was chosen for our Physical Activity Play. The students enjoy running so that was an easy pick for our Beal Elementary Student Ambassador Team.Our new abamssadors thought it was great for them to get a chance to already start planning for next school year!

      August 1, 2012 at 21:04 | Report abuse |
  14. Paul Wilson

    This is all due to humans not confining themselves to self-pleasuring, but insisting on having raw sex with strange persons of the opposite gender.

    June 24, 2012 at 08:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Love Rhino

      Yeah, its hard being a real man and wanting to experience a woman with all her moves and reactions to this or that. Its a rough burdon but I get over it somehow.

      July 3, 2012 at 09:23 | Report abuse |
  15. Hoagie Smoker

    if i cant get it in the a$$ then theres no point to anything

    July 3, 2012 at 09:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Colon Cowboy

    Colon roller-coaster for the win

    July 3, 2012 at 09:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jyacinta

      I have a good one for you gov, why was my best friend did not get her food sptams and cash for grandchild.she is with no food and money to pay her bills Whats up with this. she was at the welfare office the other day.but they sent her home with nothing .also the mother of these kids left them with the grandmother.she now faces with no christmas tree or even a nice dinner for the kids.the kids don't have any clothes at all not even toys for christmas and the grandmother don't have money$$$$.and now with no car i think this is not fair to her or the kids where is the love the predents or the the gov have man where is the love of god in this calif.PLEASE HELP HER IN ANY WAY she lives at REDACTED

      August 2, 2012 at 03:35 | Report abuse |
  17. Momof3inNC

    This is terrible news. This country (and others) abuses the use of antibiotics...all that's left is a natural remedy – try using a zeolite product (it's natural and pulls the negatively charged toxins out of the body in about 4hrs). Try Touchstone Essentials' Pure Body – their particle size is the smallest of all, therefore better circulated in the body.

    July 3, 2012 at 10:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Carawaigh

      What exactly are you referring to when you say "negatively charged toxin"? Are you aware that "toxins" do not have charges like electricity, that you can't magically pull them out of the body using an oppositely "charged" remedy? Are you aware that making up words for things does not change the nature of reality? Go out and screw someone with a raging STD, then take your homeopathic medibabble nonsense, and be sure to send me an invitation to your funeral.

      July 3, 2012 at 11:41 | Report abuse |
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    Well I really liked reading it. This post procured by you is very useful for correct planning.

    July 30, 2012 at 12:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Ernesto

    I have one scheduled to come out (via c-section) June 12th. If he comes ealrier I will let you know. I admire your work ..and have NO experience with newborn photography. It is on my list of many things to get better at!

    August 2, 2012 at 01:22 | Report abuse | Reply
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    Even so


    September 23, 2012 at 10:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Hollie Logero

    Sexually transmitted diseases can always be prevented by using condoms and abstinence. ;":"*

    Remember to look out for our new blog site

    October 7, 2012 at 21:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Buck Airola

    eye infections can be prevented if you just take care of your eyes by avoiding foreign bodies contacting it. :

    View the newest write-up at our new blog page

    November 4, 2012 at 00:32 | Report abuse | Reply
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