A "sex superbug" has put health experts in Australia
and New Zealand on high alert amid mounting evidence that antibiotics used to
treat the infection are no longer effective.
most highly resistant strain of gonorrhoea ever discovered in Australia was
recently found in a tourist from central Europe who contracted the sexually
transmitted infection (SIT) in Sydney. According
to the Australian Health Department, a new multidrug resistant type of
gonococcal bacteria, dubbed A8806, was identified with similarities to an
untreatable strain of gonorrhoea known as H041.
department has urged GPs to refer all cases of gonorrhoea, known as "the clap",
for culture testing and New Zealand health clinics are on a high state of alert.
officials with the New Zealand Sexual Health Society said, the capacity of the
gonorrhoea bacterium to develop antibiotic resistance is well known and many of
the antibiotics used in the past 70 years no longer provide effective
infection can result in severe complications, this is a major public health
concern" said Dr Edward Coughlan, president of the society.
colloquially known as the clap, is caused by Neisseria gonorrhea, a bacterium
that can grow and multiply in the warm, moist areas of the reproductive tract,
including the cervix, uterus and fallopian tubes in women and in the urethra in
women and men. Symptoms
are often silent but the long-term effects can be devastating, causing painful
pelvic disease in women and infertility in both sexes.