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Super-resistant STD found in Australia

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Doctors have been warned to be on the alert for the most highly resistant strain of gonorrhoea ever detected in Australia, in the latest worrying evidence that the effectiveness of antibiotics is waning.

The Health Department has urged GPs to refer all cases of gonorrhoea infection for culture-based testing, particularly where treatment has failed, following confirmation of the most highly resistant strain of the disease ever detected in Australia.

In an alert issued last month, the Department said testing at the WHO Collaborating Centre for STD and the Neisseria Laboratory at Sydney’s Prince of Wales Hospital had identified a new multidrug resistant strain of gonococcal, dubbed A8806.

It said subsequent analysis at QCMRI and the University of Queensland had found that strain had genetic similarities to the rare ceftriaxone-resistant strain H041, which was identified in a single case in Japan in 2009.

The Department said the A8806 strain exhibited the highest measure of resistance to ceftriaxone “ever reported in Australia”.

It advised that non-culture tests, which are increasingly being used for the diagnosis of gonorrhoea infection, did not provide the definitive data necessary for predicting antimicrobial resistance.

“It is vital that GPs continue to use culture-based testing where possible,” it said, adding that physicians should collect cultures from patients where the failure of treatment is suspected.

Adrian Rollins