WHO Report: Drug-Resistant Gonorrhea Rates Rising
A new report issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests drug-resistant gonorrhea is becoming nearly impossible to treat, and new drugs are needed to fight this common sexually-transmitted infection. The report includes data from 77 countries.
According to the WHO, about 78 million people are infected with gonorrhea each year worldwide. The bacterial infection can cause serious complications—especially in women—including pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), ectopic pregnancy, infertility, and increased risk of contracting HIV.
Data collected from 2009 to 2014 shows widespread resistance to ciprofloxacin, increasing resistance to azithromycin, and emerging resistance to the current last-resort treatment: extended-spectrum cephalosporins like oral cefixime and injectable ceftriaxone. In 2016, WHO updated global treatment recommendations to include two antibiotics to treat gonorrhea: ceftriaxone and azithromycin. At this time, only three new drugs are in clinical development for gonorrhea.