The overuse of antibiotics during the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a rise in cases of gonorrhea. Health experts even fear that the highly drug resistant STI may become untreatable.
The World Health Organisation clearly states the sexually transmitted infection (STI) may become even more resistant to the recommended treatments like azithromycin, which typically is used for chest and sinus infections. Azithromycin has seen an increase in usage during the pandemic.
"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 WHO spokesperson told British media outlet The Sun.
Kevin Cox, executive chairman of the Britain-based startup Biotaspheric Limited stated new treatments are urgently needed for gonorrhea as people who are infected "will infect others and accelerate microbial resistance."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said cases of gonorrhea, which is caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae, have increased 63 per cent since 2014. The US agency has also warned that this could "facilitate transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)." Not only this, it can also cause eye infections.
In Europe, the UK has the highest gonorrhea rate and there are likely to be more than 420,000 new cases annually by 2030.