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The European Centre for Disease Prevention ECDC warns that antibiotics no longer work well against some forms of the STD gonorrhea. This is because the bacteria that causes the disease becomes resistant. The ECDC calls this a “worrying development”. If existing drugs stop working properly, gonorrhea can cause more health damage. Two versions of the bacteria are resistant to the antibiotics ceftriaxone. Doctors prescribe this drug to treat gonorrhea. But those same two versions are also resistant to treatment with combinations of medicines. This makes it much more difficult to combat infections.

The European countries that are members of the ECDC, including the Netherlands, had a total of 70,881 confirmed cases of gonorrhea in 2022. That’s the largest number since records have been kept. Compared to the previous year, the number of infections increased by 48 percent. At the time, the ECDC already expressed its concern about the increase.

In the Netherlands itself, too, the number of people who get gonorrhea continues to increase considerably. Gonorrhea was diagnosed 13,853 times in the Netherlands last year, according to figures from the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). That’s almost 31 percent more than in 2022, when 10,600 cases were recorded. There is a particularly striking increase among women and heterosexual men aged up to 25 years.

What is gonorrhea?

Gonorrhea is an STD caused by a bacterium. This bacterium can lead to infections. Think of inflammation of the urethra, rectum and throat. Men can also get an infection of the epididymis. In women, the cervix and fallopian tubes can become inflamed. The STD almost always causes symptoms in men. They may experience a burning sensation when urinating or a pus-like discharge from the penis, also known as a drip. Women have less symptoms.

By: Newsroom NU.nl