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Gonorrhoea may become untreatable in England, medical officer warns

By Andrew V. Pestano Follow @AVPLive9 Contact the Author   |   Dec. 27, 2015 at 12:45 PM

LONDON, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- England's chief medical officer has warned that gonorrhoea may become untreatable due to a highly drug-resistant strain of the infection.

England's chief medical officer, Dr. Sally Davies, sent a letter to all general practitioners and pharmacies urging them to prescribe correct drugs to combat the drug-resistant strain.

"Gonorrhoea is at risk of becoming an untreatable disease due to the continuing emergence of antimicrobial resistance," Davies wrote in the letter, co-signed by England's chief pharmaceutical officer, Dr. Keith Ridge. "Gonorrhoea has rapidly acquired resistance to new antibiotics, leaving few alternatives to the current recommendations. It is therefore extremely important that suboptimal treatment does not occur."

Public Health England has detected at least 16 cases of "super-gonorrhoea" -- first discovered in March.

Gonorrhoea is the second most common sexually transmitted infection in England. Cases increased from 29,419 in 2013 to 34,958 in 2014.

"Investigations are ongoing into a number of cases of anti-microbial resistant gonorrhoea," Dr. Andrew Lee, from Public Health England, said in a statement. "Public Health England will continue to monitor, and act on, the spread of antimicrobial resistance and potential gonorrhoea treatment failures, to make sure they are identified and managed promptly."

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