Gonorrhoea cases on the rise across Europe

April 25, 2019

Following a decline in notification rates in 2016, the number of gonorrhoea cases has gone up by 17% across the reporting EU/EEA countries with more than 89 000 confirmed diagnoses in 2017 - more than 240 cases a day.

The 2017 increase follows the overall trend over the last decade during which 20 of the 28 EU/EEA countries consistently reporting registered an increase in the number of notified gonorrhoea cases.

Since 2008, France and Portugal experienced a six-fold increase, Denmark and Ireland now record more than three times as many confirmed cases. Some of the reported increases over time could be the result of improved national surveillance systems and use of more sensitive tests.

After a small drop in 2016, gonorrhoea notifications were on the rise again in the majority of the 27 reporting countries in 2017. Some countries noted striking year-on-year increases of more than 40% like Finland and Sweden.

"One thing the constantly high rate of reported gonorrhoea cases in Europe tells us, is that people keep having sex with new and casual partners without condoms. Which makes it easy to pass on an infection that is increasingly resistant to the common antibiotic treatment options. If you are at risk, make sure to get tested regularly", highlights ECDC expert Gianfranco Spiteri.

Earlier this year, results from ECDC's sentinel European Gonococcal Antimicrobial Surveillance Programme showed a persistent level of resistance of Neisseria gonorrhoeae to azithromycin, which compromises the recommended dual therapy with ceftriaxone and azithromycin.

Men who have sex with men (MSM) accounted for almost half of the gonorrhoea cases (47%) in 2017. The rise in notified cases among women between 2016 and 2017 (from 9.5 to 11 per 100 000 population) is concerning as untreated gonorrhoea can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease or cause infertility.

"We have to also bear in mind that the numbers we see do not even show the true extent of the gonorrhoea epidemic in Europe. Many infections are not diagnosed due to lack of symptoms or limited access to diagnostics or simply are not reported", Spiteri continues.

Correspondingly, rates of reported gonorrhoea infection vary considerably across Europe from below 1 to 75 cases per 100 000 population, with higher rates in northern Europe. While this variation could be linked to real differences in incidence of gonococcal infection, they are likely influenced by different testing policies and methods, healthcare systems and access to services as well as reporting and surveillance system structures.

With 558 155 confirmed cases between 2008 and 2017, gonorrhoea is the second most notified sexually transmitted infection in the EU/EEA after chlamydia (more than 3.8 million reported cases during the same time period).
Read more:

ECDC Annual Epidemiological report for 2017 - gonorrhoea


Gonorrhoea: drug resistance compromises recommended treatment in Europe


Extensively drug-resistant gonorrhoea: risk of further dissemination within and across Europe


Understanding drug-resistant gonorrhoea: an ECDC whole genome sequencing study


Find out where to test

European Test Finder


European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)

Related Infection Articles from Brightsurf:

Halving the risk of infection following surgery
New analysis by the University of Leeds and the University of Bern of more than 14,000 operations has found that using alcoholic chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) halves the risk of infection in certain types of surgery when compared to the more commonly used povidone-iodine (PVI).

How plants shut the door on infection
A new study by an international team including University of Maryland scientists has discovered the key calcium channel responsible for closing plant pores as an immune response to pathogen exposure.

Sensing infection, suppressing regeneration
UIC researchers describe an enzyme that blocks the ability of blood vessel cells to self-heal.

Boost to lung immunity following infection
The strength of the immune system in response to respiratory infections is constantly changing, depending on the history of previous, unrelated infections, according to new research from the Crick.

Is infection after surgery associated with increased long-term risk of infection, death?
Whether experiencing an infection within the first 30 days after surgery is associated with an increased risk of another infection and death within one year was the focus of this observational study that included about 660,000 veterans who underwent major surgery.

Revealed: How E. coli knows how to cause the worst possible infection
The discovery could one day let doctors prevent the infection by allowing E. coli to pass harmlessly through the body.

UK study shows most patients with suspected urinary tract infection and treated with antibiotics actually lack evidence of this infection
New research presented at this week's European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) in Amsterdam, Netherlands (April 13-16, 2019) shows that only one third of patients that enter the emergency department with suspected urinary tract infection (UTI) actually have evidence of this infection, yet almost all are treated with antibiotics, unnecessarily driving the emergence of antimicrobial resistance.

Bacteria in urine doesn't always indicate infection
Doctors should think carefully before testing patients for a urinary tract infection (UTI) to avoid over-diagnosis and unnecessary antibiotic treatment, according to updated asymptomatic bacteriuria (ASB) guidelines released by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Subsidies for infection control to healthcare institutions help reduce infection levels
Researchers compared three types of infection control subsidies and found that under a limited budget, a dollar-for-dollar matching subsidy, in which policymakers match hospital spending for infection control measures, was the most effective at reducing the number of hospital-acquired infections.

Dengue virus infection may cause severe outcomes following Zika virus infection during pregnancy
This study is the first to report a possible mechanism for the enhancement of Zika virus progression during pregnancy in an animal model.

Read More: Infection News and Infection Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.