Drug-Resistant Gonorrhea
Spreading In The US
By Emma Patten-Hitt
ATLANTA (Reuters Health) - Treating the common sexually transmitted disease (STD) gonorrhea with some antibiotics may no longer be effective in Hawaii, US government researchers said Thursday. Their report highlights a growing trend of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea that also affects the mainland United States.
A number of cases of gonorrhea resistant to ciprofloxacin--one of a class of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones--have been identified in Hawaii, according to the latest report. ``The percentage of (gonorrhea-causing bacteria) in Hawaii that were (resistant to ciprofloxacin) increased from 1.4% in 1997 to 9.5% in 1999,'' the researchers write in the September 22nd issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
``Gonorrhea has a high affinity for acquiring new resistance and fluoroquinolones are commonly used to treat many types of infection within the community,'' said Dr. Chris Iverson, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). He explained that the widespread use of fluoroquinolones to treat many different types of infections, not just gonorrhea, increases the chances that we will see increased gonorrheal resistance to fluoroquinolones in the US.
``Our concern is that it will eventually become a problem in the US...we do expect that with time (fluoroquinolone resistance) will transfer over to the mainland United States,'' Iverson said.
Gonorrhea is the second most commonly reported STD in the US, after chlamydia. More than 320,000 cases were reported to the CDC in 1997. In recent years, the disease has become increasingly prevalent among men who have sex with men, according to the agency.
SOURCE: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2000;49:833-837.

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