Warnings issued over ‘super-gonorrhoea’ outbreak across England

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A national alert has been issued after an outbreak of a highly drug-resistant strain of gonorrhoea.

There have been fifteen cases detected since March by Public Health England (PHE), according to the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV.

The outbreak was detected in Leeds, and cases have been found in Macclesfield, Oldham and Scunthorpe.

So far all cases have affected straight patients, some of who have had sexual partners from further afield, but regular strains of the bacteria disproportionately affect the gay community in the UK.

The strain is highly resistant to the azithromycin drug, and such resistance has previously been rare.

About 10 percent of men and about half of women with gonorrhoea do not experience symptoms

In a statement, PHE said: “An outbreak control team meeting has been convened and STBRU are currently performing next generation sequencing on these strains to better understand the molecular epidemiology.”

It added: “PHE is concerned that the effectiveness of current front-line dual therapy for gonorrhoea will be threatened if this resistant strain continues to spread unchecked.”

In 2014, around 35,000 cases of gonorrhoea were reported in England.

Data from Public Health England (PHE) showed a significant rise in cases of gonorrhoea among gay and bisexual men.

Gonorrhoea diagnoses rose 26% in this group, nearly double the national rate in 2013, from 10,764 to 13,570.