Rising gonorrhoea incidence in the United Kingdom

GlobalData Healthcare 8 September 2020 (Last Updated September 8th, 2020 09:27)
Rising gonorrhoea incidence in the United Kingdom

Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoea, one of the most common sexually transmitted infections globally; symptoms include burning during urination and unusual discharges but the disease can also cause infections in the rectum, throat and eyes. Medical treatment is required as soon as possible as if left undiagnosed, gonorrhoea can continue to spread and, in some cases, cause infertility. New reports have shown that incident cases have increased more dramatically than GlobalData had predicted for 2019.

In September 2020, Public Health England (PHE) released a report on Sexually transmitted infections in England in 2019.  A 26% increase in gonorrhoea infections was seen in 2019 compared to cases in 2018. This increase was due largely to an increase in diagnoses made, most notably, via internet consultations. Internet service diagnoses of gonorrhoea in 2019 increased by 106% compared to 2018 while sexual health screens arranged via internet services increased by 69% in the same timeframe. Internet services offer easier, quicker access to medical help and the aspect of being in one’s own space during a consultation may play a role in the comfort level and willingness to request a consultation. Internet services also offer non-video call options, opening up an avenue for those who prefer more anonymity to be diagnosed and treated.

GlobalData’s Epidemiology and Market Size Database’s Gonorrhoea forecast from 2017–2027 show the diagnosed incidence rates for Gonorrhoea in the sixteen major markets (16MM: US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, South Korea). GlobalData forecast 57,644 new cases in the UK for the year 2018, which lines up with PHE report of 56,232 cases for 2018. GlobalData’s forecast, based on historical data, was 57,937 cases for 2019. However, PHE new data showed that a rise of 26% was seen in gonorrhoea cases, bringing the 2019 number of cases to 70,936.

The figure below presents PHE’s reported gonorrhoea diagnosed incident cases for 2018–2019 compared with GlobalData’s forecast for gonorrhoea in the United Kingdom for 2018–2019 using historical data. With this rising trend of internet consultations, especially in a time where face to face interactions are becoming limited, we expect to see a growing number of incident cases in a large majority of diseases.

Figure 1: PHE Gonorrhoea Incident Cases 2018–2019 in the UK Compared with GlobalData Projection.

Credit: GlobalData.