Professor Brendan Murphy
Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer
Two cases of multi-drug resistant gonorrhoea have been recently detected in Australia. One case was diagnosed in Western Australia and a second case diagnosed in Queensland.
Multi-drug resistant strains can be difficult to treat and it is important to prevent further spread.
Evidence suggests that one of the Australian cases acquired their infection in Southeast Asia.
The situation is being closely monitored by public health authorities.
Relevant jurisdictions continue to follow up with the cases to determine where the infection was acquired, and undertake contact tracing as required.
Drug-resistant gonorrhoea exists in many countries, including Australia. However, these latest cases and a recent one in the UK appear to be the first reported that are resistant to ALL of the antibiotics that have been in routine use against gonorrhoea.
The number of gonorrhoea cases has been increasing in all Australian States and Territories in the last few years.
Gonorrhoea infection may not always cause symptoms. It is spread through vaginal, anal and oral sex.
The best way to prevent gonorrhoea is to practise safe sex. It is important when travelling, and at home, to use appropriate precautions, such as barrier protection like condoms and dams, when engaging in all types of sexual activity.
Untreated gonorrhoea can have serious complications, including pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility in women.
People who have had new sexual partners are advised to get tested regularly.
People who have symptoms are advised to see their GP or Sexual Health Clinic as soon as possible. The most common symptom in women is an abnormal discharge from the vagina and in men it is a discharge from the penis.
For further information please see your GP or the Department of Health website.