Drug Resistance Threatens Gonorrhea Control

April 15, 2008

The emerging resistance of Neisseria gonorrhoeae to multiple antimicrobial agents is a major public health challenge, and heightened surveillance of antimicrobial resistance patterns and improved screening practices are necessary for adequate prevention and control of gonorrhea, according to an article published in the April 15 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

TUESDAY, April 15 (HealthDay News) -- The emerging resistance of Neisseria gonorrhoeae to multiple antimicrobial agents is a major public health challenge, and heightened surveillance of antimicrobial resistance patterns and improved screening practices are necessary for adequate prevention and control of gonorrhea, according to an article published in the April 15 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Kimberly A. Workowski, M.D., of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues review the development of antimicrobial resistance in N. gonorrhoeae strains and discuss strategies for prevention and control of gonorrhea.

N. gonorrhoeae resistance to sulfanilamides, penicillin, tetracyclines and fluoroquinolones has developed over the last 60 years, and cephalosporins are presently the only recommended class of antimicrobials. The authors advocate heightened gonococcal surveillance systems to track infections at the local level and identify emerging cephalosporin resistance. Primary screening of at-risk populations is critical to detecting reservoirs of infection, and prompt treatment of sexual partners of infected individuals is needed to control spread of the disease, the report indicates. Finally, drug development efforts should focus on antimicrobials with efficacy against N. gonorrhoeae.

"Progress in controlling the epidemic and avoiding a resurgence as treatment options wane will require careful attention to all components of a comprehensive prevention strategy," the authors conclude.

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