Drug-resistant gonorrhoea spreads from an infected person’s throat during oral sex, the World Health Organisation has warned. The world health body says the human throat acts as a ‘silent reservoir’ for gonorrhoea, and that the problem is driving the drug-resistance crisis currently being experienced in the treatment of gonorrhoea.
Drug-resistant gonorrhoea can spread from an infected person’s throat during oral sex, without them even knowing they have the STI, an expert warns.
The WHO had warned in July that incurable gonorrhoea is on the rise due to oral sex and a decline in condom use as HIV fears lessen. Head of the sexually transmitted infections programme at the Global Antibiotics Research and Development Partnership in Geneva, Dr. Emilie Alirol, said, “The throat infections act as a silent reservoir.
“Transmission is very efficient from someone who has gonorrhoea in their throat to their partner via oral sex.” WHO confirmed that three people worldwide have developed ‘super gonorrhoea’, which is resistant to all forms of treatment.
Globally, gonorrhoea infects around 78 million people each year. Thirty percent of all new infections in the United States are resistant to at least one drug, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Gonorrhoea infections in the throat are frequently overlooked, as the bacteria typically resides there in smaller numbers than in the genitals and is not easily picked up by swabs.
Oral infections are also difficult to treat, as antibiotics work in the bloodstream and there are few blood vessels in the throat. Untreated, oral gonorrhoea can spread to the genitals, causing pelvic and testicular pain in men, and putting women at risk of pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancies and even infertility. Dr. Alirol said: “Women will bear a very high burden if we start having an increasing number of untreatable gonorrhoea cases.”