Superbug in the Sexual Health Clinics...

Given the subject of Dean’s article yesterday I thought I would share the following that I came across in the news just earlier today. The bottom line…when you are offered an antibiotic from your doctor no matter what it is for, question him or her as to whether it is really necessary. Usually they are not.

If you can avoid using antibiotics when it is not essential you will be doing both your own health and everyone else’s by helping reduce the growing prevalence of these ‘superbugs’.

Here is the article I am referring to:

Fears of sex infection superbug - by Stacey Kirk, Manawatu Standard

An increasing resistance to antibiotics in the past year has sexual health experts concerned gonorrhoea is becoming the nation's next superbug.

Last year almost half of all gonorrhoea samples taken in the MidCentral Health district were resistant to ciprofloxacin, an oral antibiotic which is sometimes used to treat the sexually transmitted infection.
MidCentral Sexual Health Service medical head Anne Robertson said the trend was concerning.

In 2010 47.8 per cent of samples were resistant to ciprofloxacin, meaning they needed ceftriaxone treatment by injection, she said.

In 2008, 4380 cases of gonorrhoea presented to sexual health clinics in Palmerston North, Levin and Dannevirke. That figure jumped to 5275 the following year. There are four main antibiotics that have been used to treat gonorrhoea – ciprofloxacin, penicillin, tetracycline and ceftriaxone. Ceftriaxone is now considered the first-line treatment for gonorrhoea.

Data on resistance among gonorrhoea isolates – or samples – is collected annually from community and hospital diagnostic microbiology labs and collated at Environmental Science and Research to provide national estimates of resistance to these four antibiotics.

The latest data for 2008 showed nationally about 7 per cent of samples were resistant to penicillin, whereas more than 25 per cent were resistant to ciprofloxacin. ESR figures showed resistance to ciprofloxacin started to emerge in 2000, and within eight years had risen to a quarter of all samples.

In the same period, penicillin resistance has stayed relatively stable at about 8 per cent. For a bacterium to be considered a superbug, it has to be multi-resistant to more than one antibiotic. Last week, Wellington infectious disease experts Tim Blackmore and Justin Beardsley called for a nationwide survey of antibiotic use in New Zealand public hospitals.

Mrs Robertson said there was considerable concern across the country that gonorrhoea could change through the overuse of antibiotics. Green MP Sue Kedgley is also calling for the use of antibiotics to be examined.

"The World Health Organisation has warned us that worldwide misuse of antibiotics could lead to a post-antibiotic era in which common infections will no longer have a cure, so it is essential that we reduce antibiotic consumption and our rate of antibiotic resistance," she said.

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