Man in Britain with 'worst-ever' case of super-gonorrhoea cured

A strain of Neisseria gonorrhoeae diplococcal bacteria among numerous white blood cells (WBCs) known as polymorphonuclear leukocytes. The bacteria causes the disease and is spread by unprotected vaginal, oral and anal sex.
A strain of Neisseria gonorrhoeae diplococcal bacteria among numerous white blood cells (WBCs) known as polymorphonuclear leukocytes. The bacteria causes the disease and is spread by unprotected vaginal, oral and anal sex. PHOTO: UNITED STATES CENTRES FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION

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. He also had a regular partner in Britain.

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.

A detailed 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 - including in his British partner - 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.

Dr Hughes said they will be "challenging" to treat and were a "timely reminder" to everyone that super-gonorrhoea is likely to be more common in the future.

The disease is caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae and is spread by unprotected vaginal, oral and anal sex.

Of those infected, about one in 10 heterosexual men and more than three-quarters of women, and gay men, have no easily recognisable symptoms.

But 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, pelvic inflammatory disease and can be passed on to a child during pregnancy.