Two cases of multi-drug resistant gonorrhea detected in Australia

Two cases of multi-drug resistant gonorrhea have been detected in Australia.

One case of the sexually transmitted disease was found in Western Australia and a second case was diagnosed in Queensland, with authorities believing one of the cases was acquired in southeast Asia.

In a statement, Commonwealth chief medical officer Brendon Murphy said the two 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 gonorrhea”.

Gonococci, the bacterium which causes gonorrhea, under a microscope. Source: Getty Images

Last month, Public Health England confirmed a UK man contracted the superbug following sexual activity with a woman in Southeast Asia.

The health authority’s Dr Gwenda Hughes added it was “the first time a case” had displayed such high-level resistance to a combination of theazithromycin and ceftriaxone antibiotics and to other commonly used medications for gonorrhea.

The man is being treated intravenously with the antibiotic ertapenem, with doctors saying he has started to show signs of improvement but the results won't be known for at least a month.

Untreated gonorrhea can have serious complications, including pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility in women.

A case reported in the UK in March was the first 'super gonorrhea' diagnosis. File pic. Source: Getty Images

Multi-drug resistant strains can be difficult to treat, with the number of gonorrhea cases increasing in Australia in recent years.

To stop the spread of the infection health authorities suggest wearing condoms, especially when engaging in sexual activity while travelling.

If left untreated gonorrhea can cause chronic health problems, including infertility.