There was a time not too long ago when doctors could cure a patient with gonorrhoea (aka the clap) with their eyes shut. But then this was the pre-HIV days when this disease stood centre-stage among sexually-transmitted diseases.
With the attention diverted to HIV and AIDS, the disease was practically unheard of in the media. What really happened was that Neisseria gonorrhoeae (aka gonococcus), the bacteria causing this disease, continued to proliferate quietly without the bells and whistles, not making the headlines because it was so easily treated with the wide array of modern antibiotics that were readily available. Up to now, that is.
The World Health Organization(WHO) warned yesterday of a spreading resistance to drugs used to treat the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhoea.
Millions of people with the condition may be at risk of running out of treatment options unless urgent action is taken, the United Nations agency said.
Up till now, the germ had developed resistance to many antibiotics which had been used over time; so much so, the current mainstay is the use of cephalosporin group of antibiotics, in particular ceftriaxone. But , there now emerges reports that even this antibiotic has proven useless. Left untreated, gonorrhoea causes infertility in men and women and may add considerable healthcare costs if left untreated.
WHO has called for greater vigilance on the correct use of antibiotics and more research into alternative treatments for so-called gonococcal infections, which is quite understandable, as research for new antibiotics have taken a back-seat in recent years. Meanwhile, for individuals, the best way of not contracting the disease is of course having a regular partner or abstinence, failing which condom usage has proven effective.