Gonorrhoea

Magnus Unemo*, H. Steven Seifert, Edward W. Hook, Sarah Hawkes, Francis Ndowa, Jo Anne R. Dillon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

The bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae causes the sexually transmitted infection (STI) gonorrhoea, which has an estimated global annual incidence of 86.9 million adults. Gonorrhoea can present as urethritis in men, cervicitis or urethritis in women, and in extragenital sites (pharynx, rectum, conjunctiva and, rarely, systemically) in both sexes. Confirmation of diagnosis requires microscopy of Gram-stained samples, bacterial culture or nucleic acid amplification tests. As no gonococcal vaccine is available, prevention relies on promoting safe sexual behaviours and reducing STI-associated stigma, which hinders timely diagnosis and treatment thereby increasing transmission. Single-dose systemic therapy (usually injectable ceftriaxone plus oral azithromycin) is the recommended first-line treatment. However, a major public health concern globally is that N. gonorrhoeae is evolving high levels of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), which threatens the effectiveness of the available gonorrhoea treatments. Improved global surveillance of the emergence, evolution, fitness, and geographical and temporal spread of AMR in N. gonorrhoeae, and improved understanding of the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics for current and future antimicrobials in the treatment of urogenital and extragenital gonorrhoea, are essential to inform treatment guidelines. Key priorities for gonorrhoea control include strengthening prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment of patients and their partners; decreasing stigma; expanding surveillance of AMR and treatment failures; and promoting responsible antimicrobial use and stewardship. To achieve these goals, the development of rapid and affordable point-of-care diagnostic tests that can simultaneously detect AMR, novel therapeutic antimicrobials and gonococcal vaccine(s) in particular is crucial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number79
JournalNature Reviews Disease Primers
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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    Unemo, M., Seifert, H. S., Hook, E. W., Hawkes, S., Ndowa, F., & Dillon, J. A. R. (2019). Gonorrhoea. Nature Reviews Disease Primers, 5(1), [79]. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41572-019-0128-6