Gonorrhea is caused by a specific bacterium, called Neisseria gonorrhoeae. It is a sexually transmitted bacterial infection which tends to attack the mucous membranes of the body. Gonorrhea can be passed not only through the intercourse, but also it can be transmitted through a birth canal to a newborn. Often, infections can lead to cervicitis, proctitis, urethritis, pelvic inflammatory disease, and pharyngitis. This infection can increase the risk for ectopic pregnancy and sensitivity to HIV as well.
Gonorrhea is one of the most common infectious diseases. In 2007, there was 350,000 cases reported in the States and that number is most likely even higher because of the unreported cases.
Drug-resistant strains of gonorrhea are increasing all over the world, and that is why a successful treatment is becoming more difficult. Resistance to fluoroquinolone is now higher than it was ten years ago. Yearly, about 200 million people get this infection all over the world.
Gonorrhea is most commonly caused by any kind of sexual contact (vaginal, anal or oral) with the infected person. It can also be caused by mucosal inoculation through contaminated objects. Pregnant women can pass this infection to a child trough the scalp.
There are some factors that increase the risk of being infected by gonorrhea. First, it is the sexual contact with the infected person without an adequate protection. Also, having more than one sexual partner increases the risk of infection. Newborns are at high risk if a mother is infected. Children who are sexually abused by an infected person are also at risk. Children could also get gonorrhea through non-sexual contact in institutions or at home. Usage of long-term birth control method (IUD) can increase the chances for gonorrhea.
Treatment for gonorrhea infection is easy and includes a single dose of certain antibiotics. It is common that people who are infected by gonorrhea are infected by chlamydia at the same time, so both of these infections should be treated in such cases. It is important that the partner of the infected individual be also examined in order to prevent reinfection.
Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gave recommendation that gonorrhea should not be treated with fluoroquinolone antibiotics. That is because of the increased resistance to these antibiotics. Medicines in cephalosporin class are now used. Nowadays, cefixime is easy to find in the States and the treatment which includes this drug is very efficient. Ceftriaxone is an injectable antibiotic, used also for this infection. Also commonly used antibiotics are spectinomycin, silver nitrate and erythromycin.