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Thursday 27th October 2016

Action needed on gonorrhoea

27th February 2013

The Health Protection Agency has launched an action plan aimed at decreasing transmission rates of gonorrhoea in England and Wales.


Although the sexually transmitted infection can be treated with antibiotics, the number of people being diagnosed with gonorrhoea is increasing and in some countries "untreatable" strains have been identified.

Types of gonorrhoea which are resistant to treatment have been found in Japan and Sweden. 

In 2011, the number of new cases rose by 25% to almost 21,000. The HPA wants to see this number drop and identify antibiotic-resistant forms of the disease.

England's Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies has told the government to put the infection's resistance to antibiotics on the civil emergencies risk register.

"We have seen a worrying rise in cases of drug-resistant gonorrhoea over the last decade," she said.

"Antimicrobial resistance to common drugs will increasingly threaten our ability to tackle infections, and the Health Protection Agency's work is vital to addressing this threat." 

The infection can be transferred from a pregnant woman to her baby, and around one in 10 men and five in 10 women do not exhibit any symptoms. 

The head of STI surveillance at the HPA, Dr Gwenda Hughes, said: "We are seriously concerned about continuing high levels of gonorrhoea transmission and repeat infection, suggesting we need to do more to reduce unsafe sexual behaviour." 


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