Expert warns that number of gonorrhoea cases has "exploded exponentially"

WHO has warned that some gonorrhoea infections have become 'untreatable by all known antibiotics'

Expert warns that number of gonorrhoea cases has "exploded exponentially"

Image: CDC/ James Archer

An expert is warning that there has been an 'exponential explosion' in the number of gonorrhoea cases here in Ireland.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) last week warned that data from 77 countries has highlighted some cases where a gonorrhoea infection is 'untreatable by all known antibiotics'.

An estimated 78 million people are infected with the sexually-transmitted infection around the world every year.

Efforts are continuing to find new treatments for the infection, with a new study published in The Lancet journal highlighting a test marking the "first time a vaccine has shown any protection against gonorrhoea".

Dr Derek Freedman - a specialist in the field of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), with a practice in Ranelagh in Dublin - says the rise in cases is also down to lifestyle and community changes.

Speaking on Newstalk Drive, he explained: "The number of cases of gonorrhoea I've seen in the last two years has exploded exponentially. There were times when you might have seen two or three cases a year - I had a morning a couple of weeks ago where I saw three cases in one morning.

"Basically in an era of Tinder and Grindr [...] There's a lot of risk-taking carrying on with sex parties, with chemsex [...] Certainly there are many, many more sexual opportunities for people.

"It really comes back to the old basics of knowing your partner, using protection, and being careful."

On the subject of antibiotic resistance, he explained: "It's very important that the correct diagnosis is made in the first place, and that people don't just take inappropriate antibiotics - that's what fuels the resistance."

Ultimately, Dr Freedman concluded: "What we must do is protect people, particularly young people, that they don't suffer long-term consequences."