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Antibiotic resistance making gonorrhoea treatment harder: WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said antibiotic resistance is making gonorrhoea, a sexually-transmitted disease, "much harder and sometimes impossible" to treat, as it cited data from 77 countries including India. The global health body said every year, an estimated 35.2 million people were infected by the disease in the WHO's Western Pacific Region and 11.4 million in the South-East Asian Region, which includes India.
"Data from 77 countries show that antibiotic resistance is making gonorrhoea much harder, and sometimes impossible, to treat," it said. Asked if India was a part of the 77 countries, the WHO, Geneva, replied, "India is part of the 77 countries and has been coordinating with the Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) in gonorrhoea in South East Asia Region". Each year, an estimated 78 million people are infected with gonorrhoea - which can infect the genitals, rectum, and throat.
It afflicts 11.4 million in the WHO African Region, 11.0 million in the WHO Region of the Americas, 4.7 million in the WHO European Region and 4.5 million in the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region.
Gonorrhoea disproportionately affects women, leading to pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy and infertility, as well as an increased HIV risk. "The bacteria that cause gonorrhoea are particularly smart. Every time we use a new class of antibiotics to treat the infection, the bacteria evolve to resist them," said Dr Teodora Wi, Medical Officer, Human Reproduction, WHO.
WHO reports widespread resistance to older and cheaper antibiotics. Some countries - particularly high-income ones, where surveillance is among the best - are finding cases that are untreatable by all known antibiotics, it said.
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