Public health officials warn that Gonorrhea treatments aren't working
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - It can be an uncomfortable topic, but public health organizations are concerned about a common Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) that's becoming harder to treat.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says the bacteria that cause gonorrhea are growing resistant to antibiotics.
The STI is the second most commonly reported infectious disease.
Ohio Department of Health data shows cases of gonorrhea are on the rise in our area and the rates in Cincinnati are higher than anywhere else in the state.
The new information from the WHO says gonorrhea is showing widespread resistance to drugs that once cleared the infection. Sharon Hutchins, an epidemiologist with the Cincinnati Health Department says the bacteria that causes the STI can pass along resistance to other bacteria more quickly than other infections.
She says there are tests that doctors can order to properly diagnose gonorrhea and decide the most effective treatment option, but they take time. She says the CDC is recommending doctors now treat the STI with at least two different antibiotics.
"That way if the organism is resistant to one hopefully it's not resistant to both, and then we don't have to delay treatment for the person because you don't want someone to leave and have to wait for five days, suffer the consequences and maybe pass it on," says Hutchins.
Untreated infections can cause serious health problems including pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility in women. The WHO would like to see a vaccine developed to prevent the STI.