A dangerous super gonorrhea that’s spread by oral sex has health officials alarmed.
“The bacteria that cause gonorrhea are particularly smart. Every time we use a new class of antibiotics to treat the infection, the bacteria evolve to resist them,” said Teodora Wi, a human reproduction specialist at the WHO, in a news release.
Oral sex is producing dangerous gonorrhea and a decline in condom use is helping it to spread, WHO said. About 78 million people pick up the STD each year and it can cause infertility.
“These cases may just be the tip of the iceberg,” Wi said.
Caused by the bacterium called Neisseria gonorrhea, the STD is known to infect the genitals and rectum, but it can also infect the throat — which is used to a barrage of antibiotics for common colds and flu.
“When you use antibiotics to treat infections like a normal sore throat, this mixes with the Neisseria species in your throat and this results in resistance,” Wi said.
Thrusting gonorrhea bacteria into this environment through oral sex can lead to super-gonorrhoea.
What makes matters worse is that about one in 10 heterosexual men and more than three-quarters of women, and gay men, have no easily recognizable symptoms.
Dr Manica Balasegaram, from the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership, said the situation is fairly grim.
“There are only three drug candidates in the entire drug [development] pipeline and no guarantee any will make it out.”