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I'm Rob Logan, Ph.D., senior staff, U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM).
Here is what's new this week in To Your Health, a consumer health oriented podcast from NLM, that helps you use MedlinePlus to follow up on weekly topics.
A vaccine intended to treat meningitis may prevent gonorrhea in about a third of young adults, suggests a news analysis recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The JAMA report suggests gonorrhea rates comparatively fell about 31 percent after 15,000 young adults in sexual health clinics received a meningitis B vaccine in New Zealand from 2004-08.
The JAMA report suggests the vaccine's therapeutic side effects were a surprise to researchers, who published their initial findings in The Lancet.
Incidentally, the New Zealand study was possible only because the country's National Immunization Register records every vaccine dose delivered within the country as part of national health service programs.
One of the study's primary investigators told JAMA (and we quote): 'this is the first time it's been shown that you could have a vaccine that would protect against gonorrhea. And if these results are confirmed in another setting, that would mean that it would be very reasonable… to go forward with developing perhaps a more targeted vaccine' (end of quote).
Interestingly, JAMA reports the meningitis B vaccine that was used during the current study has been replaced worldwide by a new shot, which may need to be tested to discover if its properties protect similarly against gonorrhea.
However, JAMA reports the encouraging findings occur as health agencies around the world are concerned about the emergence of gonorrhea that is resistant to current antibiotic medications. JAMA notes the number of gonorrhea cases in the U.S. increased 23 percent from 2011 to 2015. More specifically, there were about 395,000 gonorrhea cases in the U.S. in 2015 compared to about 322,000 in 2011.
JAMA reports recent goals set by the World Health Organization seek to reduce annual gonorrhea infections by 90 percent worldwide by 2030.
The study's primary investigator told JAMA (and we quote): 'If you can reduce the number of cases and reduce the amount of antibiotic use through vaccines, then you're reducing the pressure for new resistant strains, and that will allow potentially current antibiotics to be used longer' (end of quote).
Meanwhile, some background information about gonorrhea is provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention within the 'start here' section of MedlinePlus.gov's gonorrhea health topic page.
The Nemours Foundation provides a website about gonorrhea for parents within the 'children' section of MedlinePlus.gov's gonorrhea health topic page. The Office on Women's Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides a website about gonorrhea for women within the 'women' section of MedlinePlus.gov's gonorrhea health topic page.
MedlinePlus.gov's gonorrhea health topic page additionally provides links to the latest pertinent journal research articles, which are available in the 'journal articles' section. Clinical trials that may be occurring in your area can be found in the 'clinical trials' section. You can sign up to receive updates about gonorrhea as they become available on MedlinePlus.gov.
To find MedlinePlus.gov's gonorrhea health topic page, please type 'gonorrhea' (or G...O...N...O...R...R...H...E...A) in the search box on MedlinePlus.gov's home page, then, click on 'gonorrhea (National Library of Medicine).' MedlinePlus.gov also contains a health topic page devoted to sexually transmitted diseases.
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