Gonorrhoea 'untreatable' after becoming drug resistant
Antibiotics are proving to be less effective in treating sexually transmitted infections (STIs), in particularly gonorrhoea.
Health authorities have warned over the last five years gonorrhoea has become resistant to the drugs that are most often used to tackle it and as a result the STI is now almost untreatable.
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) in the UK is now desperately searching for new treatments for the infection.
Doctors have also been asked to use a combination of two drugs when treating patients with gonorrhoea instead of the traditionally used cefixime, to which the infection has become resistant.
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The HPA believes the mixture of the orally taken azithromycin and the injected ceftriaxone are together more powerful than cefixime.
Laboratory tests found cases of gonorrhoea with decreased susceptibility to cefixime had increased from 0 percent in 2005, to 10.6 percent in 2009 and 17.4 percent in 2010.
Experts believe the gonorrhoea infection has an “unusual ability to adapt itself” which explains its increase in drug resistance.
An expert in gonorrhoea from the HPA, Professor Cathy Ison, commented: “Our lab tests have shown a dramatic reduction in the sensitivity of the drug we were using as the main treatment for gonorrhoea.
“This presents the very real threat of untreatable gonorrhoea in the future.”
“But this won't solve the problem, as history tells us that resistance to this therapy will develop too,” she added.
“In the absence of any new alternative treatments for when this happens, we will face a situation where gonorrhoea cannot be cured.
“This highlights the importance of practising safe sex, as, if new antibiotic treatments can't be found, this will be the only way of controlling this infection in the future,” Ison explained.
Gonorrhoea is one of the most common STIs in Britain, beaten only by Chlamydia and cases of it are increasing.
HPA figures show in 2009 there were just over 15,000 new cases of the STI, but this increased by three percent to over 16,000 in 2010.
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Schneider Electric's intelligent patient room: need to know
Schneider Electric has launched a virtual showcase that features its new "intelligent patient room". What is it exactly?
Who: Schneider Electric is a multinational that develops energy and automation solutions for many different industries - including hospitality, education, defence, and healthcare. Founded in 1836, today it is a Fortune 500 company, and it currently provides technology to 40% of hospitals around the world, among them Penn Medicine, one of the top hospitals in the US where Schneider's EcoStruxure for Healthcare is deployed, an IoT solution.
What: Schneider has launched its Innovation Experience Live Healthcare Lab, an immersive experience that takes visitors through a demonstration of a hospital, including the doctor’s office, the operating room, and the intelligent patient room.
The room features a digital patient footwall - a touchscreen that creates a single reference point for patients, families and healthcare providers, by incorporating care information, entertainment and environmental controls all in one place. A separate digital patient door display has important information for healthcare staff.
All Schneider's equipment is low-voltage, and integrated so that the patient room, clinical needs and IT are all seamlessly connected, what Schneider calls a digital “system of systems.”
Why: Mike Sanders, Customer Projects & Services in Healthcare Innovation at Schneider Electric, explains: “The hospital of the future will need to put the patient experience at the forefront, using innovative and connected systems to provide superior in-hospital care experiences.”
“With the shift to remote work and business brought forth by the pandemic, we knew that we needed to invest in a new virtual experience that showcases our vision for a truly integrated healthcare experience. We believe our intelligent patient room is the solution that our healthcare partners and customers have been looking for, and we’re excited to offer a way for them to experience it no matter where they are in the world.”
Where: The virtual experience was modelled after the new innovations installed at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia, the first real-world installation of Schneider Electric’s fully integrated intelligent patient room technology. It is currently being hosted at the company’s St. Louis Innovation Hub and Innovation Executive Briefing Center (IEBC) facility.