Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists sound alarm over threat of untreatable gonorrhea in United States

Date:
February 9, 2012
Source:
University of Washington
Summary:
The threat of multi-drug resistant gonorrhea is rising. Cephalosporins, the last line of defense, are rapidly losing effectiveness. The likelihood of treatment failures in the United States calls for urgent action to control the spread of gonorrhea, medical research leaders say. Gonorrhea is the second most commonly reported communicable disease in the United States.

A stained sample of gonorrhea bacteria detected in a urinary tract specimen.
Credit: CDC

Researchers are continuing to sound the alarm on the growing threat of multi-drug resistant gonorrhea in the United States, according to a perspective in the Feb. 9 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Related Articles


In July of 2011, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released "Cephalosporin Susceptibility Among Neisseria gonorrhoeae Isolates -- United States, 2000-2010," which signaled the potential for resistance to the cephalosporins, the last line of defense for treating gonorrhea.

The New England Journal of Medicine piece, "The Emerging Threat of Untreatable Gonococcal Infection," byGail A. Bolan, director of the Division of STD Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, P. Frederick Sparling, professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and Judith N. Wasserheit, professor and vice chair of the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington in Seattle, issues an urgent call to action to halt the continued increases in drug-resistant gonorrhea.

"It is time to sound the alarm," said co-author Wasserheit. "Though there is no evidence yet of treatment failures in the United States, trends in decreased susceptibility coupled with a history of emerging resistance and reported treatment failures in other countries point to a likelihood of failures on the horizon and a need for urgent action."

According to the article, gonorrhea is the second most commonly reported communicable disease in the United States, with an estimated incidence of more than 600,000 cases annually. It disproportionately affects some populations such as minorities who are marginalized because of race, ethnic group or sexual orientation.

Scientists note that Neisseria gonorrhoeae has always readily developed resistance to antimicrobial agents: it became resistant to sulfanilamide in the 1940s, penicillins and tetracyclines in the 1980s, and fluoroquinolones by 2007. The treatment options recommended by the CDC are now limited to third-generation cephalosporins.

But the effectiveness ofcephalosporins for treating gonorrhea has been decreasing rapidly. Through CDC's Gonococcal Isolate Surveillance Project , researchers are seeing a 17-fold increase in elevated minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) -- a measure of drug susceptibility. MICs for oral cefixime went from 0.1 percent in 2006 to 1.7 percent in the first six months of 2011.

In the past, when the prevalence of antimicrobial resistance in the Gonococcal Isolate Surveillance Project exceeded 5 percent, national treatment recommendations were changed to focus on other effective drugs. But currently, there are no other drugs.

The most prominent increases in drug susceptibility to gonorrhea continue to be among men who have sex with men, and in the West, according to the authors. They wrote that these geographic and demographic patterns are worrisome because they mirror those observed during the emergence of fluoroquinolone-resistant N. gonorrhoeae.

Scientists are calling on a collective effort from physicians, drug companies, and health care providers to help stop the emergence and spread of resistant gonorrhea.

"Investing in rebuilding our defenses against gonococcal infections now, with involvement of the health care, public health, and research communities, is paramount if we are to control the spread and reduce the consequences of cephalosporin-resistant strains," the scientists wrote.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Washington. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Gail A. Bolan, P. Frederick Sparling, Judith N. Wasserheit. The Emerging Threat of Untreatable Gonococcal Infection. New England Journal of Medicine, 2012; 366 (6): 485 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1112456

Cite This Page:

University of Washington. "Scientists sound alarm over threat of untreatable gonorrhea in United States." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 February 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120209101844.htm>.
University of Washington. (2012, February 9). Scientists sound alarm over threat of untreatable gonorrhea in United States. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120209101844.htm
University of Washington. "Scientists sound alarm over threat of untreatable gonorrhea in United States." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120209101844.htm (accessed November 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

UN Says It Will Scale Up Its Ebola Response

UN Says It Will Scale Up Its Ebola Response

AFP (Nov. 20, 2014) UN Resident Coordinator David McLachlan-Karr and WHO representative in the country Daniel Kertesz updated the media on the UN Ebola response on Wednesday. Duration: 00:51 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Takata Offers "sincerest Condolences" To Victims of Malfunctioning Airbag

Takata Offers "sincerest Condolences" To Victims of Malfunctioning Airbag

Reuters - US Online Video (Nov. 20, 2014) U.S. Congress hears from a victim and company officials as it holds a hearing on the safety of Takata airbags after reports of injuries. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obesity Costs Almost As Much As War And Terrorism

Obesity Costs Almost As Much As War And Terrorism

Newsy (Nov. 20, 2014) The newest estimate of the cost of obesity is pretty jarring — $2 trillion. But how did researchers get to that number? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Crisis Affecting US Adoptions

Ebola Crisis Affecting US Adoptions

AP (Nov. 20, 2014) The Sanborn family had hoped they'd be able to bring home their 5-year-old adopted son from Liberia by now. But Ebola has forced them to wait. The boy is just one of thousands of orphans in West Africa who've been impacted by the deadly virus. (Nov. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins