Health warning issued after gonorrhoea strain detected in London

An antibiotic-resistant strain of gonorrhoea has been detected in London

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has issued a warning after an antibiotic-resistant strain of gonorrhoea was detected in London - Credit: PA

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has issued a warning after an antibiotic-resistant strain of gonorrhoea was detected in London.

A case involving a strain of the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae, which causes the extremely contagious sexually transmitted disease, has been confirmed by health authorities. 

This strain is resistant to the antibiotic ceftriaxone, which is now the main treatment for gonorrhoea.

It is common in the Asia-Pacific region, but is rarely found in the UK.

Investigations suggest the infected heterosexual man, who is in his early 20s, acquired the infection in London in November. 

Fortunately he was treated successfully according to the UKHSA, and investigations to identify and limit onward transmission are now underway by sexual health clinical teams.

Although gonorrhoea - which is sometimes called "the clap" - is not life-threatening, it can cause significant health problems if not properly treated.

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Typical symptoms include a thick green or yellow discharge from the vagina or penis, pain when urinating, pain and discomfort in the rectum, lower abdominal pain in the area of the uterus or ovaries, and bleeding between periods.

Some people infected with gonorrhoea won't have any symptoms at all, especially throat, vagina or rectum infections.

A drive to remind people of the importance of protecting themselves against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and how to get tested over the holiday period and into the New Year is now underway.

Head of STIs at the UKHSA, Dr Katy Sinka, said: “Finding this strain of gonorrhoea in the UK serves as a stark reminder of the problem of antibiotic resistance in this common STI.

"To reduce the risk of gonorrhoea and other STIs, we recommend using condoms consistently and correctly with all new or casual partners.

"If you recently developed any STI-related symptoms such as an unusual discharge, avoid sexual contact and get a sexual health screen.”

For advice on STIs including how to access sexual health services see sexwise.org.uk.

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