2 UK Women Diagnosed with Antibiotic Resistant Gonorrhoea

Nicky Broyd

January 10, 2019

Two women in the last 3 months have been diagnosed with extensively-drug-resistant (XDR) gonorrhoea – the so-called 'super gonorrhoea'.

Public Health England (PHE) says one case was acquired in the UK, the other in Europe, with possible connections to what's been called a 'party destination'.

Both women were heterosexual and their infections displayed similar resistance patterns to the first-line antibiotics ceftriaxone and azithromycin.

Similar cases are rare for the UK but have been reported in other countries.

PHE says these cases are unrelated to the 2018 case of resistant gonorrhoea in a UK national acquired in South East Asia as the type of resistance in the new cases was found to be different.

Enhanced Surveillance

Enhanced surveillance is in place for treatment failures and the spread of antibiotic resistance in gonorrhoea.

Dr Nick Phin, deputy director of the National Infection Service at PHE, said in a statement: "Although these two cases of extensively resistant gonorrhoea have been successfully treated, contact tracing is underway to ensure there is no onward spread." 

The two cases are also being investigated for possible links.

PHE is also stressing public health messages of practising safer sex through the use of condoms.

'Deeply Concerned'

Dr Olwen Williams, president of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) said: "We are deeply concerned by these new developments and BASHH are working closely with national and local partners to help prevent further spread of multi-drug resistant gonorrhoea.

"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. We would also like to remind all healthcare providers about the crucial importance of adhering to BASHH guidelines for the management and treatment of gonorrhoea."

BASHH also repeated its concerns over "significant and persistent funding cuts for public health" including sexual health services.

It said the latest £85m cut was delivered at the end of 2018.


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