Doctors in the US warn that a new drug-resistant strain of the sexually-transmitted disease is “potentially disastrous”.
Monday 06 May 2013
A new antibiotic-resistant form of gonorrhoea could be ‘worse than Aids’, according to some US doctors.
Gonorrhoea HO41 was first detected in a female sex worker in Japan two years ago and “the potential for disaster is great”, warns William Smith from the US National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD).
“It’s an emergency situation,” Mr Smith told CNBC. “As time moves on, it’s getting more hazardous.”
HO41 has not yet killed anyone, or spread outside of Japan – but action is needed in advance, said Mr Smith.
“That’s what’s kind of scary about this. We are at lows in terms of infections, but this strain is a very tricky bug and we don’t have anything medically to fight it right now.”
The new strain of gonorrhoea resists existing drugs and the NCSD has asked the US government for an extra $53m (£34m) in funding to prepare.
It claims it is a case of “if, not when” a drug-resistant form of the disease arrives in the US, and that if action is not taken now it could potentially cost around $780m (£501m) to treat.
“This might be a lot worse than Aids in the short run because the bacteria is more aggressive and will affect more people quickly,” Alan Christianson, a doctor of naturopathic medicine, told CNBC.
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