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WHO Announces Drug Resistant Gonorrhea 

By: Amina Zafar of CBC

Untreatable cases of “superbug gonorrhoea” have occurred, the World Health Organization says, as it calls for new drugs to treat the bacterial infection.

On Thursday, WHO and a global team of researchers published a study in the journal PLoS Medicine highlighting increases in drug-resistant gonorrhea, calling it a “serious situation.” 

The United Nations health agency now advises doctors to prescribe two antibiotics called ceftriaxone and azithromycin for the sexually transmitted disease.

“We are starting to see resistance emerging to these drugs and even, as we say, superbug gonorrhea,” Dr. Manica Balasegaram, director of the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership, told reporters from Geneva.

Gonorrhea can infect the genitals, rectum and throat. Each year, it’s estimated 78 million people become infected. Most women with the infection have no symptoms and 40 per cent of men don’t either. Left untreated, men and women can become infertile and face an increased risk of HIV.

Gonorrhea on the rise 

In women, it can lead to abdominal pain, pelvic inflammatory disease and ectopic pregnancy. If a pregnant woman’s infection goes untreated then the newborn could be infected, leading to blindness.

In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 395,000 cases were reported in 2015, a 13 per cent increase from the year before. There was a similar rise of 15 per cent reported in Canada.

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