According to Philly.com, U.S. Health officials issued a new report on Tuesday that warns that one of the antibiotic treatments options for gonorrhea no longer seems to be as effective as it once was.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has tracked the resistance of the the disease to antibiotics overtime, noticing that its resistance to the treatment cefixime went down between 2011 and 2013. However, it started to become more resistant in 2014.
Fortunately, cefixime isn’t typically the first drug that is recommended for treating gonorrhea infections. The CDC’s most recent guidelines for gonorrhea treatment, issued in 2012, only recommend using cefixime when cetriaxone-based combination therapy is not available.
The CDC does not mention any drop in effectiveness of cetriaxone-based combination therapy, which is its preferred first recommendation for the treatment of gonorrhea.
However, the study does emphasize the danger of treatment becoming less effective in the treatment of gonorrhea.
“It is essential to continue monitoring antimicrobial susceptibility and track patterns of resistance among the antibiotics currently used to treat gonorrhea,” said study lead author Dr. Robert Kirkcaldy, an epidemiologist in the CDC’s division of STD prevention in Atlanta.
“Recent increases in cefixime resistance show our work is far from over,” he said.
The study can be found published as a research letter in the Nov. 3 issue of Journal of the American Medical Association.
Gonorrhea is a sexual transmitted diseases that is typically transferred during unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex. It is particularly in youths and young adults between the ages of 15 and 24.
Symptoms include a painful sensation when urinating, and discolored discharge from reproductive organs. Among women, symptoms also include vaginal bleeding between periods.
When left untreated, it can cause serious health complications, including pelvic pain, infertility, and life-threatening ectopic pregnancy.
Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, a co-vice chair of the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force in Rockville, Md., emphasized how crucial it is for people to undergo routine screenings.
“The task force recommends screening for gonorrhea in sexually active women age 24 years or younger, and in older women who are at increased risk for infection,” she said in the report.