Published on February 10, 2012 at 4:56 AM
But the effectiveness of cephalosporins for treating gonorrhea has been decreasing rapidly. Through CDC's Gonococcal Isolate Surveillance Project , researchers are seeing a 17-fold increase in elevated minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) -- a measure of drug susceptibility. MICs for oral cefixime went from 0.1 percent in 2006 to 1.7 percent in the first six months of 2011.
In the past, when the prevalence of antimicrobial resistance in the Gonococcal Isolate Surveillance Project exceeded 5 percent, national treatment recommendations were changed to focus on other effective drugs. But currently, there are no other drugs.
The most prominent increases in drug susceptibility to gonorrhea continue to be among men who have sex with men, and in the West, according to the authors. They wrote that these geographic and demographic patterns are worrisome because they mirror those observed during the emergence of fluoroquinolone-resistant N. gonorrhoeae.
Scientists are calling on a collective effort from physicians, drug companies, and health care providers to help stop the emergence and spread of resistant gonorrhea.
"Investing in rebuilding our defenses against gonococcal infections now, with involvement of the health care, public health, and research communities, is paramount if we are to control the spread and reduce the consequences of cephalosporin-resistant strains," the scientists wrote.
Source: University of Washington