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20.49 28 Mar 2018


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A man in the UK has become the first person to be diagnosed with a case of gonorrhoea that is resistant to the two main antibiotics typically used to treat the sexually-transmitted infection (STI).

Public Health England detailed the case in a new report, claiming it is the 'first global report' of gonorrhoea that is resistant to the antibiotic ceftriaxone.

The heterosexual man reported one regular female partner in the UK, but is said to have had a sexual encounter with a woman in south-east Asia a month before developing symptoms of gonorrhoea.

An initial test for the disease in the man's UK partner was negative.

Dr Gwenda Hughes, head of the STI Section at Public Health England, explained: "First line treatment for gonorrhoea is a combination of 2 antibiotics (azithromycin and ceftriaxone). This is the first time a case has displayed such high-level resistance to both of these drugs and to most other commonly used antibiotics.

"We are following up this case to ensure that the infection was effectively treated with other options and the risk of any onward transmission is minimised."

She added that "using condoms consistently and correctly with all new and casual partners" significantly reduces the risk of contracting or spreading gonorrhoea.

The man is currently being treated with one last potential antibiotic, with early results suggesting it 'may be an effective therapy'.

Dr Olwen Williams, head of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, suggested the development was a 'game changer' for the management of STIs in the UK.

Last year, the World Health Organisation warned that antibiotic-resistant gonorrhoea was on the rise.

An estimated 78 million people are infected with the disease every year.

The STI is typically contracted by having vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone who has already been infected.


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