Gonorrhea Resistance Rates on The Rise

Ceftriaxone used to be able to treat gonorrhea. But as experts are observing in China, our resistance rates to the the antibiotic are reportedly shooting through the roof.

In the United States, such resistance to gonorrhea is actually very rare - the rate falls below 1%, and its only 3% in Europe as well. However, the rates in China have risen to 20-30%, said Dr. Joseph Duncan at the annual Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

“This is very concerning for the potential spread of this type of resistance across the world at some point. It’s just ready to explode,” observed Dr. Duncan of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Anytime gonococcal resistance rates to a drug hit around 5%, there is cause for concern.

What’s worse is that gonorrhea has developed resistance to every antibiotic ever used to treat it, so this means that our treatment options are running out. That’s why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have designated gonorrhea as an immediate public health threat requiring urgent and aggressive action.

These attempts include new antibiotics currently under development, repurposing existing antibiotics, rapid point-of-care antibiotic susceptibility tests, and vaccine development. The drug farthest along in the pipeline is solithromycin, which works best to minimize development of resistance. So far, two positive phase 3 clinical trials have been completed, with more on the horizon. We can only hope that better solutions continue to be developed, but in the meantime, it’s helpful to be aware of the current situation.

Blog: Gonorrhea Resistance Rates on The Rise

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