Oral sex is becoming one of the ways of transmissions of an STD worldwide. WHO has said at least three people worldwide are infected with totally untreatable “superbug” strains of gonorrhoea which they are likely to be spreading to others through sex.
Data from 77 countries showed that when someone contracts the common sexually-transmitted infection — which infects roughly 78 million people each year — it is now “much harder, and sometimes impossible, to treat,” according to the WHO.
Oral sex and a decline in condom use are reportedly behind the spread. “Gonorrhoea is a very smart bug,” said Teodora Wi, a human reproduction specialist at the Geneva-based UN health agency.
“Every time you introduce a new type of antibiotic to treat it, this bug develops resistance to it,” Wi adds.
In many cases, the disease has no symptoms on its own but can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy and infertility, as well as increasing the risk of getting HIV.
Wi gave details in a telephone briefing about two studies on gonorrhoea published in the journal PLOS Medicine, said one had documented three specific cases – one each in Japan, France and Spain – of patients with strains of gonorrhoea against which no known antibiotic is effective.
“These are cases that can infect others. It can be transmitted. And these cases may just be the tip of the iceberg, since systems to diagnose and report untreatable infections are lacking in lower-income countries where gonorrhoea is actually more common,” reports Independent.
The WHO’s programme for monitoring trends in drug-resistant gonorrhoea found in a study that from 2009 to 2014 there was widespread resistance to the first-line medicine ciprofloxacin, increasing resistance to another antibiotic drug called azithromycin, and the emergence of resistance to last-resort treatments known as extended-spectrum cephalosporins (ESCs).
In most countries, it said, ESCs are now the only single antibiotics that remain effective for treating gonorrhoea. Yet resistance to them has already been reported in 50 countries.
Dr Manica Balasegaram, Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP) director, said: “To address the pressing need for new treatments for gonorrhoea, we urgently need to seize the opportunities we have with existing drugs and candidates in the pipeline.”