Safe sex warning after two women infected with super-gonorrhoea

Henrietta Strickland
January 12, 2019

One of the women appears to have been infected in mainland Europe.

A second woman has also caught the "super gonorrhoea" - an STI resistant to conventional antibiotic treatment methods - sparking fears of a widespread outbreak. Back in March, a man made history by contracting the world's "worst-ever" case of the superbug after an innocent trip, without his partner, to South East Asia.

The infection is usually treated with the antibiotics ceftriaxone and azithromycin but the bacterium in these two cases was resistant to the drugs.

"Spread of extensively drug-resistant strains like the ones identified in the United Kingdom and Australia can have an even more serious impact on the control of gonorrhoea".

The increasing resistance of the bacteria is coinciding with rising numbers of infections.

If left untreated it can cause life-threatening and permanent health problems including infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease and arthritis.

This is a timely reminder of the importance of avoiding getting or passing on gonorrhoea.

Dr Nick Phin, from Public Health England, told the BBC that it would be "unfair" to say that the virus was being spread in the UK. The not-so-super symptoms can include a thick green or yellow discharge from sexual organs, bleeding between periods and pain when urinating.

A European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control report published previous year saying: "The control of gonorrhoea depends on primary prevention, including promoting safer sex practices (in particular the use of condoms), regular testing of individuals at risk as well as treatment with effective antibiotics to reduce the chance of further transmission".

The STI can be passed on by unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex, as well as via shared sex toys.

"We would recommend a sexual health screen after every new partner (whether barrier contraception is used or not) or at least every three months".

'To mitigate this risk, it is essential that all parts of the system work collaboratively and help to ensure that culture tests, partner notification measures and tests of cure are in place.

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