Mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 virus may not be the only issue that health experts have to deal with in the coming months. They have also seen a rise in a super strain of gonorrhea, which is deemed to be drug-resistant.

During the pandemic, azithromycin was used to treat sinus and chest infections in order to prevent co-infection of patients with coronavirus. It was also used to treat inflammatory symptoms of severe infections.

A spokesman for the World Health Organization (WHO) told The Sun that overusing antibiotics can lead to "the emergence of antimicrobial resistance in gonorrhea."

Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) services during the pandemic have been disrupted, which indicates that there are more STI cases that remain undiagnosed. This also led to more people doing self-medication. With more people turning to this type of treatment, it can fuel resistance in gonorrhea, which includes super gonorrhea that has been shown to offer high resistance against current antibiotics that are commonly used in treating the disease.

A US study cited by The Sun showed that 71 percent of patients suffering from COVID-19 received antibiotics. However, only four percent of them had such a need.

Dr. Hanan Balkhy, assistant director-general of the antimicrobial resistance division of WHO also said that using antibiotics will not treat COVID-19 but it will create a resistance in the bacteria that already reside in the body. She added that what must be noted is that antibiotics must not be prescribed unless there is a clear medical indication the patient needs them.

What appalled health experts more is that this super gonorrhea can lead to infertility in both men and women. It has also been shown to result in blindness in babies who have been infected with the disease.

The executive chairman of Biotaspheric Limited, Kevin Cox, also said that given the premise of COVID-19 patients receiving antibiotics even though some of them may not really need them, this could also lead to the emergence of super gonorrhea. He also warned that it may soon become untreatable. Those who have the disease can infect others and also accelerate resistance. Hence, new treatments are urgently needed.

Super gonorrhea on the rise due to antibiotic overuse. Photo: Pixabay