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CDC: Untreatable Gonorrhea a Possibility

Resistance to Last Gonorrhea Drug Class Is Emerging
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Suspicious Gonorrhea Should Be Cultured

Untreated or inadequately treated gonorrhea can lead to infertility in women and is associated with an increased risk for acquiring HIV in both sexes.

Bolan warns that new antibiotics may soon be needed to effectively treat gonorrhea, but she says drug companies have shown little interest in developing such drugs.

The CDC is working with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to identify effective drugs that may already be available and to study new ones.

And the agency is asking health care providers to follow current treatment guidelines, which require two antibiotics. The CDC also recommends that health care providers change their diagnostic practices if they suspect a patient might have treatment-resistant gonorrhea.

The CDC is recommending that cultures be performed on patients whose symptoms do not get better or return quickly following treatment if drug resistance is suspected.

The CDC is also asking health care providers to promptly report all suspected treatment failures to local or state health departments, and the agency is asking health departments to keep cultures on hand so that testing can be done quickly.

“Providers have always been on the front lines of this type of surveillance,” Hillard Weinstock, MD, of the CDC’s Division of STD Prevention, tells WebMD. “This is the way public health agencies find out what is going on in their communities.”

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