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Antibiotic-Resistant Gonorrhea: The Current Threat and Future Public Health Implications

Gatskie, Vanessa (2013) Antibiotic-Resistant Gonorrhea: The Current Threat and Future Public Health Implications. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted bacterial infection with a high incidence rate in the United States and abroad. Untreated gonorrhea infections can lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), infertility in both men and women and blindness in babies infected by their mothers. The morbidity associated with gonorrhea, however, has been inhibited by the use of antibiotics, especially in the developed world. Since antibiotics were first used to cure gonorrhea in 1937, a variety of antibiotics have been used and subsequently discarded as first line drugs to treat the disease due to the gonorrhea bacterium’s adept ability to develop antibiotic resistance. Currently, the first line drug to treat gonorrhea is ceftriaxone, an injectable drug in the cephalosporin class of antibiotics. However, recent treatment failures after a standard dose of ceftriaxone, which have occurred in Japan, Australia and throughout Europe, have prompted experts’ concern about the future of gonorrhea treatment. While a variety of other antibiotics have been suggested as possible replacements for ceftriaxone, no known drug is a particularly good or immediate substitute, either because of insufficient research, a proven lack of efficacy or already-existing resistance within prevalent gonorrhea strains. In the absence of another antibiotic to take ceftriaxone’s place, the focus of public health professionals and clinicians must be on prevention. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) should adjust their antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea working plans to prioritize prevention, rather than surveillance, in order to stem the tide of what could be a pandemic of an untreatable bacterial infection, the likes of which have not been experienced in the modern antibiotic era. The public health consequences of such an epidemic would be severe with global increases in morbidity, costs and Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) lost due to gonorrhea infection.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Gatskie, Vanessavcg4@pitt.eduVCG4
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairMarx, Johnjmarx@pitt.eduJMARX
Committee MemberHawk, MaryMEH96@pitt.eduMEH96
Committee MemberTrauth, Jeanettetrauth@pitt.eduTRAUTH
Date: 27 June 2013
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 2 April 2013
Approval Date: 27 June 2013
Submission Date: 29 March 2013
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Number of Pages: 48
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Gonorrhea, Antibiotic-Resistance
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2013 18:04
Last Modified: 01 May 2018 05:15


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