GENEVA, Switzerland, July 11, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The World Health Organization is warning that a “super” strain of gonorrhea spread by oral sex has become antibiotic resistant.
The WHO’s conclusion on the “super” gonorrhea STI came from statistics in 77 countries worldwide. Cases in France, Spain, and Japan have proved incurable. As a result, the WHO lists it as one of the world’s greatest health threats.
WHO spokeswoman Dr. Teodora Wi explained, “Gonorrhea is a very smart bug. Every time you introduce a new class of antibiotics to treat gonorrhea, the bug becomes resistant.”
This is especially true, experts theorize, with gonorrhea transmitted by oral sex. The STD can infect the genitals, rectum, and throat. The catch is that when antibiotics are used to combat a simple sore throat, it strengthens the gonorrhea bug.
“Gonorrhea has developed resistance to all therapeutic antibiotics,” Professor Richard Stabler of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine told the BBC. He added that in the last 15 years recommended medicines to combat the sexually transmitted disease have had to change three times.
“We are now at a point where we are using the drugs of last resort, but there are worrying signs as treatment failure due to resistant strains has been documented,” Stabler said.
In 2013, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control officially called gonorrhea an “urgent threat.” By 2015, experts documented increasing resistance to standard antibiotic treatment.
“In the U.S., resistance [to an antibiotic] came from men having sex with men because of pharyngeal infection,” Wi noted.
The WHO is calling for pharmaceutical companies to create new antibiotics to treat the disease. However, drug companies have little financial incentive to invest millions of dollars to do so because antibiotics are prescribed only short term, and doctors are told to prescribe them as little as possible to avoid building up resistance.
Currently, there are only three known antibiotics being developed to combat gonorrhea.
“The situation is fairly grim,” Dr. Manica Balasegaram of the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership warned. “There are only three drug candidates in the entire drug [development] pipeline and no guarantee any will make it out.”
Approximately 78 million people become infected with gonorrhea every year through fornication or adultery or sex with a spouse who has been unfaithful. Untreated gonorrhea causes sterility and pelvic inflammatory disease. A developing child in the womb can be infected through a diseased mother as well.
Ultimately, the WHO wants scientists to come up with a vaccine against gonorrhea, like a polio vaccine. One such vaccine has been tested on mice, but no human trials have been attempted to date.
Oral sex can transmit several STDs, such as gonorrhea, genital herpes, and syphilis. Popular Science reports that less than one-third of doctors test their patients for STDs unless specifically asked to do so.