Covid-19: the epidemic could make gonorrhea incurable
The Covid-19 epidemic has resulted in the overuse of the antibiotic azithromycin. A phenomenon that promotes resistance to antibiotics and that could lead, according to WHO, to an explosion of cases of "supergonorrhea", a sexually transmitted infection.
Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae, also called gonococcus. This disease, also known as "gonorrhea" or "hot urine", is transmitted during unprotected sex and mainly affects those under 30 years of age, especially men. If left untreated, this STI can cause infertility.
Problem: In recent years, gonorrhea has become increasingly resistant to antibiotics and may become incurable. The bacteria that caused it could mutate very quickly. A mechanism reinforced by the coronavirus epidemic, as revealed by a spokesman for the World Health Organization (WHO) in an interview with the British newspaper The Sun.
Covid-19: an abuse of antibiotics that does not stop having consequences
How to explain this phenomenon? The coronavirus outbreak has led to the overuse of azithromycin, an antibiotic used to treat Covid-19. Its effectiveness was later questioned, but its prescription has still increased by 217% since the start of the pandemic. As a result, gonorrhea could become even more resistant to antibiotics.
Antibiotic resistance is characterized by the ability of bacteria to resist antibiotics by dint of being exposed to them. Therefore, even the most common infections can be difficult to treat, as antibiotic treatments become ineffective. This is what happens with gonorrhea. Antibiotic resistant gonorrhea is called "supergonorrhea" because it is a "mutant" form of this STI.
STI detection interrupted by Covid-19
This is not the only reason linked to the epidemic that worries doctors. "During the pandemic, STI treatment services were also disrupted. This means that more STIs are misdiagnosed, leading to more people self-medicating," says WHO Spokesperson.
"The use of antibiotics will not treat Covid-19, but it will create resistance among the bacteria that already exist in our body. Ultimately, antibiotics should not be prescribed unless there is a clear medical indication for them," concludes Dr. Hanan Balkhy, deputy director general of WHOs antibiotic resistance division, tells The Sun.