Following a decline in notification rates in 2016, the number of gonorrhoea cases has gone up by 17 per cent across reporting countries in the European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA), with more than 89,239 confirmed diagnoses in 2017, equating to more than 240 cases a day.
The figures are published in the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control’s (ECDC’s) annual epidemiological report on gonorrhoea for 2017. The report shows that, over the last decade, 20 of 28 EU/EEA countries consistently reporting registered an increase in the number of notified gonorrhoea cases.
Between 2008 and 2017, France and Portugal experienced a six-fold increase, while Denmark and Ireland recorded almost a four-fold increase. Some countries, such as Finland and Sweden, have seen striking year-on-year increases of more than 40 per cent.
While the increase may be a result of improved national surveillance systems and the use of more sensitive tests, the ECDC says the figures warrant attention, particularly given the emergence of extensively drug resistant gonorrhoea. Late last year, the UK reported two cases of gonorrhoea resistant to ceftriaxone, cefixime, tetracycline, penicillin and ciprofloxacin and with intermediate resistance to azithromycin.