Super Gonorrhea & COVID-19: All You Need To Know

Super gonorrhea, also known as gonorrhea superbug, which is caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae, is an extensively drug-resistant gonorrhea with high-level resistance to the current recommended treatment (ceftriaxone and azithromycin) including resistance to penicillin, sulphonamides, tetracycline, fluoroquinolones and macrolides (WHO, 2018). If left untreated, super gonorrhoea can lead to a five-fold increase of HIV transmission and eye infections that may lead to blindness.


Source: The Sun

As a result of the overuse and in some cases, abuse of antibiotics to treat coronavirus and a lack of sexually transmitted infection (STI) services during the pandemic, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has reported a rise of super gonorrhea cases. They have also stated that the STI can become even more resistant to recommended treatments like azithromycin. A WHO spokesperson who spoke to The Sun, a british media house, said “such a situation can fuel the emergence of resistance in gonorrhea including gonorrhea superbug (super gonorrhea) or gonorrhea with high-level resistance to current antibiotics recommended to treat it”.

A study conducted in 38 Michigan hospitals showed that 56.6% of patients in the study were prescribed early empiric antibacterial therapy while only 3.5% had a confirmed community-onset bacterial infection. Professor Philip Howard, a member of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence COVID-19 rapid guideline on antibiotics, UK, also said: “Almost three-quarters of patients admitted with suspected or proven COVID-19 pneumonia get antibiotics for this viral infection while less than 1% have a bacterial co-infection.

It is therefore important to remember to:

  • Avoid self medicating especially with broad spectrum antibiotics
  • Consult a healthcare professional before commencing the use of any medication to treat COVID-19 symptoms
  • Practice safe sex by using a condom during vaginal, oral, or anal sexual intercourse to prevent the spread of super gonorrhea and other STIs

What other ways do you think we can prevent the spread of antibiotic resistant infections and STIs in our communities?

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