Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease which has the propensity to attack the mucous membranes of the body. This infection caused by bacteria has developed resistance to many antibiotics. A recent study has discovered new and promising drug targets for the treatment of this disease.
Gonorrhea is a common bacterial infection that can be transmitted through sexual contact. It attacks the mucous membranes of the body because the causative agent of this disease, Neisseria Gonorrhea, tends to live in the warm and moist parts of the body. This disease is highly contagious. Only a few of affected patients manifest with its characteristic signs and symptoms. If this infection goes untreated, there could be development of pelvic inflammatory disease, inflammation of the epididymis, inflammation of the prostate gland, or urethral strictures.
The causative agent, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, has the ability to survive in the eyes, mouth, penis, vagina, throat or rectum. These bacteria can be easily transmitted through any form of sexual contact. Once they are infected, persons are at high risk of spreading these bacteria to other parts of the body. The infected eye may be rubbed and the infection may spread to the mouth and to other parts of the body. This infection can also spread from mothers to babies during childbirth.
There are people who may be at high risk for this condition. Included are those who are sexually active, teenagers and young adults between the ages of 15 to 29 years old, and those who have previous gonorrhea infection. Persons who have contacted gonorrhea may give out certain signs and symptoms which may start between two to ten days after exposure and may last for 30 days. These symptoms may be vague so that one may easily mistake gonorrhea for another disease. While in women there may be mild to no symptoms, in men the symptoms may include yellowish-green or white discharge from the penis, testicular pain or swelling, and burning urination. In women, the symptoms may include yellowish-green or white vaginal discharge, pain or burning during urination, pelvic pain, conjunctivitis or pink eye, vulvitis or swelling of the vulva and spotting after intercourse. If the infection spreads to rectum, it may cause anal itching, anal discharge and painful bowel movements. Gonorrhea can also spread in the throat and can cause a burning sensation in the throat along with swollen lymph nodes. Women may often mistake gonorrhea for yeast infections due to its vaginal discharge.
Gonorrhea is diagnosed through examination of urethral discharge in the laboratory. If symptoms suggest a spreading infection, throat and anal cultures may be taken. Urinalysis may also be done to detect bacterial infection in the urinary tract. Once diagnosed, gonorrhea is usually treated with antibiotics which may be given through the mouth or injected. Sexual relations should not be resumed until the patient has finished the treatment regimen. Gonorrhea can be prevented by using a condom during sexual relations and abstinence of the infected partner from sex.
New Treatment Targets for Gonorrhea
A recent study made by researchers from the Oregon State University has discovered novel proteins on the surface of Neisseria Gonorrhea which may be a promising new drug target against gonorrhea which show resistance to conventional antibiotics. The findings of this study were published in the recent edition of the journal Molecular and Cellular Proteomics. In this study, the researchers identified proteins which reside in the gonorrhea bacteria, in its envelope and its membrane vesicles. The cell envelope often shields the bacteria from the environment and is responsible for its resistance. Other proteins may also help the bacteria attach to its host. All these proteins are new drug targets against gonorrhea.
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