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Drug-resistant gonorrhoea fears

8th June 2009

A strain of the antibiotic-resistant sexually transmitted infection gonorrhoea has been identified in England and Wales.

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Researchers from the Health Protection Agency said they had tested samples of the disease and found it was resistant to the frequently used antibiotic azithromycin.

Gonorrhoea comes second in the list of the most prevalent STIs in the UK and young people are the most vulnerable to being infected.

Initial symptoms may be mild, but if it is not treated it can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease in women, infertility, pain and ectopic pregnancy.

The HPA had started a monitoring programme in 2001 to identify drug-resistant strains of the condition.

It identified six cases of gonorrhoea which resisted the antibiotic azithromycin, five of which were found in Liverpool and one in Cardiff.

Although azithromycin is not the "first choice" drug to treat the disease, it is meant to be used if other antibiotics do not work.

Study leader Dr Stephanie Chisholm, said: "At present there is no evidence to show that these strains will cause any different symptoms to the strains that are currently circulating."

"Despite this resistance, appropriate antibiotic treatment should cure all uncomplicated gonococcal infections. It is vital that those who are infected seek treatment."

 

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