British man with 'worst-ever' case of super-gonorrhoea cured

LONDON • A man in Britain who contracted what has been described as the world's "worst-ever" case of super-gonorrhoea has been cured, British media reported.

Sexual health doctors say he was "very lucky" and the case was a "major wake-up call for everybody", the BBC reported.

According to media reports, the man picked up the superbug after a sexual encounter with a woman in South-east Asia earlier this year.

Public Health England said it was the first known example of a gonorrhoea infection that cannot be cured with first choice antibiotics, but now two similar cases have been reported in Australia.

The main antibiotic treatment - a combination of azithromycin and ceftriaxone - had failed to treat the disease. An analysis of his infection suggested one last antibiotic might work and he has since been treated with ertapenem, the BBC said.

Dr Gwenda Hughes, the head of sexually transmitted infections at Public Health England, said: "We are pleased to report that the case of multi-drug resistant gonorrhoea has been successfully treated."

The public health body launched an investigation to track down any further cases but says the superbug has not spread in Britain.

Discussions between Public Health England, the World Health Organisation and the European Centres for Disease Control agreed this was the most serious case of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhoea ever detected. But now two "similar" cases have been discovered in Australia. One also had sex in South-east Asia, the other reported no foreign travel, according to the BBC.

The disease is caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae and is spread by unprotected sex. Symptoms can include a thick green or yellow discharge from sexual organs, pain when urinating and bleeding between periods. Untreated infection can lead to infertility and pelvic inflammatory disease, and can be passed on to a child during pregnancy.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 22, 2018, with the headline 'British man with 'worst-ever' case of super-gonorrhoea cured'. Print Edition | Subscribe