Bloomberg the Company & Products

Bloomberg Anywhere Login

Bloomberg

Connecting decision makers to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas, Bloomberg quickly and accurately delivers business and financial information, news and insight around the world.

Company

Financial Products

Enterprise Products

Media

Customer Support

  • Americas

    +1 212 318 2000

  • Europe, Middle East, & Africa

    +44 20 7330 7500

  • Asia Pacific

    +65 6212 1000

Communications

Industry Products

Media Services

Follow Us

Gonorrhea Drug Resistance Recedes With New U.K. Approach

Gonorrhea Drug Resistance Recedes With U.K.’s New Combo Approach
An electron micrograph of Neisseria gonorrhoeae, an aerobic gram-negative bacterium responsible for the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea. The disease is caused by bacteria transmitted by sexual contact and can result in a burning sensation when urinating in both men and women. Source: CDC/Science Source via Getty Images

June 11 (Bloomberg) -- Drug-resistant gonorrhea receded in the U.K. as doctors switched to a new combination of antibiotics to clear the sexually transmitted bacterium, a study found.

Analysis of more than 6,000 samples from clinics in England and Wales over five years showed that resistance to cefixime, a generic drug and the first-line treatment for gonorrhea since 2004, fell to 10.8 percent in 2011 from 17.1 percent in 2010, reversing a four-year surge, researchers from Public Health England wrote in The Lancet journal today.

The findings suggest that a 2010 change in U.K. treatment guidelines for gonorrhea may be working, the researchers wrote. The guidelines recommended doctors switch from cefixime, an oral treatment, to an injected antibiotic called ceftriaxone, in combination with another generic drug called azithromycin. Increasing resistance to cefixime is “a major public health challenge,” the World Health Organization said a year ago.

“Despite this apparent success in stopping the drift to resistance, this proactive approach to optimum stewardship of first-line treatment must be maintained,” wrote the researchers led by Cathy Ison, the director of the laboratory that monitors the disease.

About 106 million people globally are infected with gonorrhea each year, according to the Geneva-based WHO. Cases jumped by 21 percent in the U.K. last year, and by 37 percent among gay and bisexual men, according to Public Health England.

Sexual Contact

The disease is caused by bacteria transmitted by sexual contact and can result in a burning sensation when urinating in both men and women. Left untreated it can cause complications including infertility and a life-threatening infection of the blood and joints.

The bug has developed resistance to all drugs previously used as first-line treatment, and no obvious therapies are available should cefixime and ceftriaxone become useless, the researchers wrote.

Cempra Inc., a Chapel Hill, North Carolina-based drugmaker, is testing an experimental antibiotic called solithromycin in the second of three stages of trials normally needed for regulatory approval.

The study was funded by England’s Department of Health and Public Health England, the nation’s disease-tracking agency.

To contact the reporter on this story: Simeon Bennett in Geneva at sbennett9@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kristen Hallam at khallam@bloomberg.net

Please upgrade your Browser

Your browser is out-of-date. Please download one of these excellent browsers:

Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera or Internet Explorer.