Antibiotic-Resistant Gonorrhea Increasing in California
Drug-resistant strains of the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea are on the rise in California and other parts of the West Coast, forcing health officials to reconsider current treatment recommendations, the Los Angeles Times reports (Ornstein, Los Angeles Times, 3/5). Cipro and other fluoroquinolone antibiotics have been "top-line" treatments for gonorrhea since the 1980s, when the disease became resistant to tetracycline (Chase, Wall Street Journal, 3/5). However, health officials have noted a recent increase in the number of gonorrhea infections that are resistant to fluoroquinolone antibiotics. Fluoroquinolone-resistant gonorrhea accounted for 4% of gonorrhea cases studied in Southern California in the last six months of 2001 (Los Angeles Times, 3/5). On the West Coast, the proportion of gonorrhea cases that are resistant to Cipro has increased from 0.1% in 1998 to 0.4% in 2000, and Cipro-resistant gonorrhea has been reported in Seattle, San Francisco, San Diego and Orange County (Wall Street Journal, 3/5). Drug-resistant gonorrhea is most common in homosexual and bisexual men and people who have had sexual partners from Asia, where the resistance is more widespread. Doctors and health officials are concerned that the rise of drug-resistant gonorrhea will decrease the number of treatment options available for the disease. To fight drug resistance, health officials in San Francisco and San Diego have advised physicians to avoid treating gonorrhea with Cipro and other fluoroquinolones, suggesting instead that they use cephalosporins, a class of antibiotics proven to treat the disease without producing drug resistance. During the National STD Prevention Conference in San Diego this week, officials from California will discuss whether to rewrite treatment recommendations for all doctors in the state (Los Angeles Times, 3/5).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.