Three new cases of Neisseria gonorrhoeae have been confirmed in a woman in her 20s in London and a heterosexual couple in their 20s based in the Midlands
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More cases of antibiotic resistant gonorrhea have been identified in England.
Three new cases of Neisseria gonorrhoea, the bacteria responsible for STIs, have been confirmed by the UK Health Security Agency.
These cases are in addition to the case announced in December 2021.
A woman in her 20s in London and a heterosexual couple in their 20s based in the Midlands were recently diagnosed with a strain of N. gonorrhea resistant to the antibiotic ceftriaxone.
Ceftriaxone is the main antibiotic used to treat gonorrhea in the UK and being infected with a ceftriaxone resistant strain means that this antibiotic will not easily treat the infection.
Follow-up tests are still awaited to see if the treatment was successful in these three recent cases.
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Further public health investigations are ongoing, but there is currently no known link between the cases in London and the Midlands.
Resistance to ceftriaxone is more common in the Asia-Pacific region and is sometimes detected in the UK in people who have visited or moved to the UK from that region.
Dr Katy Sinka, head of the STI section at UKHSA, said: “After a few years with no cases of this difficult to treat form of gonorrhea, we have now seen four cases in the past two months.
“It’s too early to say if this will be the start of a longer-term trend, but we know that STIs are on the rise in general.
“Getting an STI isn’t as simple as taking medicine and going on with your life – if not properly treated, it can have long-lasting effects on your health and that of your partner.
“Adding antibiotic resistance into the mix makes the impact on your life even greater.
“There are simple steps you can take to reduce your risk of gonorrhea and other STIs.
“Use condoms consistently and correctly with all new or casual partners, get tested regularly for STIs, and if you have symptoms such as unusual discharge, don’t have sex until you’ve been tested. .”
STI testing is free and available through online self-sampling services or by contacting local sexual health services.
The UKHSA actively monitors and acts on the spread of antibiotic resistance in gonorrhea and potential treatment failures and, where strains resistant to ceftriaxone are identified, implements rapid public health action to limit the spread.
Typical symptoms of gonorrhea include a thick green or yellow discharge from the vagina or penis, pain when urinating, pain and discomfort in the rectum and, in women and others with a uterus or ovaries, lower abdominal pain and bleeding between periods.
However, people infected with gonorrhea often have no symptoms, especially for infections of the throat, vagina, or rectum.
It is very important to treat gonorrhea as soon as possible because it can lead to serious long-term health problems. In women and others with a uterus or ovaries, gonorrhea can spread to the reproductive organs and cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
PID can lead to long-term pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancy, and infertility. In men and other people with testicles, it can cause painful infection of the testicles and prostate, which can lead to reduced fertility in some cases.
You can find out more about gonorrhea on the NHS website.