Treatment failures in gonorrhea cases cast ominous shadow over future

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Treatment failures in gonorrhea cases cast ominous shadow over future

TORONTO, Cananda - A new Canadian study says the standard treatment for gonorrhea failed to cure the disease in about seven per cent of tested cases in Toronto, a figure the study called relatively high.

There are very few antibiotics left with which to treat the sexually transmitted infection.

And if the class currently used fails, the remaining options will be big-gun antibiotics that the medical community would prefer to reserve for serious, hospital-based infections.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, is believed to be the first report of treatment failure with cephalosporin drugs in North America.

The lead author, Dr. Vanessa Allen, says Ontario is now looking at following the lead of the United States and Europe and recommending that doctors use an injectable antibiotic rather than the current pill version to treat gonorrhea.

But she says there is resistance to the idea among some sectors in public health, who fear moving to a less convenient form of treatment would lead to fewer infected people following through with treatment.

"It's a tradeoff between trying to make it the most accessible care and the most effective. And I think that's really been the struggle," says Allen, a medical microbiologist with Public Health Ontario.

Organizations: Journal of the American Medical Association

Geographic location: TORONTO, Ontario, North America United States Europe

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