Chief Medical Officer warns on spread of multi-drug resistant gonorrhoea

Morgan Liotta

18/04/2018 2:35:17 PM

With two cases of multi-drug resistant gonorrhoea recently detected, the Federal Government has released a health alert and information to assist healthcare professionals identify and prevent spreading of the disease.

Professor Brendan Murphy urges clinicians perform routine screening to prevent the spread of gonorrhoea.
Professor Brendan Murphy urges clinicians perform routine screening to prevent the spread of gonorrhoea.

One case of multi-drug resistant gonorrhoea detected in Western Australia, along with a second in Queensland, have prompted the Department of Health (DoH) to release a suite of resources designed to help healthcare professionals identify the disease.
Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendan Murphy released a statement reiterating the importance of practising safe sex to prevent infection of gonorrhoea.
In addition to continuing to provide information about practising safe sex, it is recommended GPs use the DoH’s resources to apply preventive health measures when consulting with patients, including obtaining a travel history and taking swabs for culture and antimicrobial resistance testing, wherever possible.
Professor Murphy stresses that these types of tests are particularly relevant for those who may have acquired the disease in south-east Asia, with evidence suggesting that one of the cases in Australia was acquired in that region.
‘Drug-resistant gonorrhoea exists in many countries, including Australia. However, these latest cases and a recent one in the UK appear to be the first reported that are resistant to all of the antibiotics that have been in routine use against gonorrhoea,’ Professor Murphy said.
‘Multi-drug resistant strains can be difficult to treat and it is important to prevent further spread.’
Professor Murphy also advises that although gonorrhoea infection may present as asymptomatic, people with any symptoms should see their GP or sexual health clinic as soon as possible. People who have had any new sexual partners are also advised to get regularly tested.
Further information for healthcare professionals is available on the DoH website.

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